Who doesn’t dream of meeting the perfect guy in an airport? Anybody could end up sitting next to you on a plane, so why not the guy of your dreams? To everyone who has ever had a thought similar to this, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight will be total wish fulfillment. It was for me, and I loved every single second of it. I read the entire book in one sitting with a smile on my face the whole time and a happy sigh at the end of it. I LOVED it.
Now, normally I am not a fan of love at first sight stories. I usually like my romance to happen slowly, growing out of friendship with lots of tension and gradually building up to that final payoff. But somehow I was totally on board with everything in Statistical Probability. Despite the title, and the fact that the story takes place over only 24 hours, this does not feel like one of those insta-love YA romances. It’s not cheesy or hokey, and it feels totally realistic and believable. Which takes great skill, in my opinion. Way to go, Jennifer.
I adored Hadley, fell in love with Oliver, and even grew to like Hadley’s parents and her dad’s new wife. Hadley and Oliver are both dealing with their own issues, making Statistical Probability more than just a love story, and their romance doesn’t overshadow the other things going on in each of their lives. Every facet of the novel was well-balanced and it all meshed together incredibly well.
Aaaaaaand let’s talk just a little bit more about Oliver, shall we? SWOON. Oliver is… well, he’s absolutely wonderful. (He wasn't listed as one of my favorite book boyfriends from 2011 for nothing!) He’s incredibly clever and sweet, and he has a wicked sense of humor. He’s adorable and funny and charming, he’s BRITISH (so many automatic points right there), and he and Hadley have fantastic chemistry together. Airport gods, can I meet an Oliver the next time I travel? PLEASE? Great, thanks.
I absolutely adored this book, and if you’re a fan of contemporary stories you definitely won’t want to miss it. My one complaint would be that it’s too short, but in some ways that just makes it feel like a perfect little bite-sized treat. :)...more
First of all, I just want to say that the description above doesn’t do the book justice at all, or evRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
First of all, I just want to say that the description above doesn’t do the book justice at all, or even really give an accurate summary. So expect a lot more when you crack this one open! :) Now, on to the review!
Oh my goodness, I LOVED this book. It’s just pure fun and cuteness and completely enjoyable. And at the same time, it’s not meaningless fluff and actually handles some real issues. Jordan is an awesome character, and she’s dealing with a lot in her life. Yeah, sure, she’s crushing on the cute new player on her team, but she’s also juggling being the female captain of her high school football team, wishing her dad would support her, trying to get college football coaches to take her seriously, and handling somewhat delicate relationships with the other guys on her team as well as opening herself up to the possibility of friendships with other girls.
And in case you couldn’t tell from all that, most of her life revolves around football. Which is totally understandable. I was a dancer and musical theater geek in high school, so I definitely get the whole focus thing. The great thing about Catching Jordan is that even though it is definitely about football, it doesn’t feel overwhelming and the football never takes over. I know next to nothing about football, but I still thoroughly enjoyed every second of this book. It even made me wish I could go back to a high school football game (which is not a normal wish for me, trust me :P).
Hands down, my favorite thing about Catching Jordan was Jordan’s relationship with the rest of the guys on her team. They are so wonderfully protective of her and it is just adorable, and those rare moments when Jordan needs a “girl talk” and tries to go to her guy friends are wonderful and hilarious. Her best friend Sam Henry is a particular favorite of mine. He and Jordan have been friends forever and have such a sweet, comfortable relationship. Watching them together was great fun and left a grin on my face the whole time.
And of course this review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the love story, right? :D But all I’m going to say is that I LOVED it. It’s sweet and heartbreaking and completely feels like high school. (Which isn’t a bad thing, in this case!)
Catching Jordan is a lovely, realistic portrayal of one girl’s journey through senior year, and it is definitely a book I’ll be rereading when I want an awesome, feel-good, make-me-smile story. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss!...more
If you’ve read my review of Delirium, you know that I went into it with incredibly high expectationsRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
If you’ve read my review of Delirium, you know that I went into it with incredibly high expectations and was left feeling slightly disappointed. And while I still have a lot of the same problems that I had with Delirium, I’m happy to say that I liked Pandemonium a lot more. This may be partly because I had more of an idea of what to expect, or maybe I was just too harsh with Delirium, I don’t know. But Pandemonium has made me want to go back and reread Delirium, and I feel a new affection for it that I didn’t feel before.
The story is told in two parts, with chapters alternating between Lena’s life when she first arrived in the Wilds (picking up right where Delirum left off) and her life as a member of the resistance about six months later. I loved this format, because of course we all want to know how she immediately adjusted to life in the Wilds but it’s fantastic to see where she ends up and how she changes. A lot of the situations in the alternating chapters parallel each other, which was also really fun.
There is a brand new cast of characters in Pandemonium, and it was great getting to know the inhabitants of the Wild and see how they live. They take Lena in and she quickly becomes one of them, doing what she needs to do to survive without Alex. Alex’s absence is felt very strongly and Lena frequently thinks about him, using his memory as a source of strength. I absolutely LOVE the new, stronger Lena, she feels so kickass.
I’m still not totally feeling the romance in this series, but that’s okay. I have hopes that it might finally win me over in the third book. Another thing I had an issue with is that the Invalids still refer to love as a disease and talk about getting “infected.” I thought the whole point is that they want to rid the world of the idea that love is a disease, not just convince everyone that it’s okay to be infected. Ah well.
The last 50 pages are tense and race along at breakneck speed, and I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what was going to happen. And at the end of it all, once again, Lauren Oliver leaves us with a heart-clenching cliffhanger. I can’t say whether I was surprised by the ending or not (because certain people know my theories and I don’t want to spoil it :P), but I will say that whether or not I was expecting it, the last page is an awesome, heart thudding moment that will leave you wailing for the next book.
I never even really felt that desperate for Pandemonium after finishing Delirium, but I NEED the third book now. I’m so excited with the possibilities and I really hope that Lauren Oliver delivers. Pandemonium is an excellent follow-up to Delirium and fans of the first book definitely won’t be disappointed....more
Legend is told through the alternating viewpoints of our two narrators: June and Day. June was born into a privileged family, got a perfect score on her Trial, and is set to become the military’s next star, though she does have a bit of a rebellious streak. Day is from the slums and is the nation’s most infamous criminal, living his life in secret and on the run. When June is sent to capture Day and their lives collide, secrets are revealed and they begin to question everything they thought they knew.
I love the dual narration; June and Day are excellent windows into the world that Marie Lu has created. Their voices are distinct and equally engaging, and I was never bored with either of their stories. I quickly became invested in both of their lives – their love and protection of their families, their struggles with their places in society, and their desire for justice. They’re both brave and intelligent and incredibly kickass, and I loved watching their relationship evolve as they met and got to know each other.
Lu’s writing pulls you into the world immediately, and with such a gritty and intense story this can be absolutely heartbreaking. June’s brother, for example. Even though I knew from the summary on the back of the book that he was going to die, it was still heart wrenching when it happened, and June’s few flashbacks throughout the novel only served to make me miss Metias more. Legend doesn’t shy away from violence and death, but it also has softer, more emotional moments, and the combination makes for a brilliant read.
One small issue that I did have with Legend was the incredible ease with which June and Day were both able to do everything. Their special skills and abilities seemed a bit too simple and perfect, and I would have liked them to need to try at least a little bit. While I could definitely relate to them emotionally, they felt somewhat superhuman otherwise, especially considering they’re both only fifteen years old, and there was no real explanation for why they were both so amazingly skilled.
Legend’s plot is pretty much the standard dystopian fare, but it’s done well and it is fast-paced and engrossing. The world is an intriguing one, although I would have liked more backstory explaining how the Republic and the Colonies came about. This is the first in a series though, so I’m hoping we’ll get more of those explanations in the sequels.
Admittedly, there are a ton of dystopian novels out there these days, but Legend is definitely not one to miss. Beautifully written and captivating, it will leave you waiting desperately for the sequel, wondering what’s next for June and Day....more
I really really wanted to fall in love with this book. I’d read so many glowing reviews and the premise looked so promising (a girl who falls in love just weeks before she’s supposed to be cured of this deadly disease? Heck yes, sign me up!), but overall I was left feeling disappointed and wondering what all the hype was about.
The premise itself is fascinating. A futuristic dystopian society where love is viewed as a disease is such an interesting idea to explore, especially since our society today places so much value on love. But that was where one of the main issues I had with it comes in. Delirium is supposed to take place only 60 or so years in our future, and there’s really no explanation as to how society evolved to create the civilization we see in the novel. What happened to make them start seeing love as a disease? There must have been some huge thing to cause such a drastic change in such a short amount of time, and I just would have liked more background on the events leading up to the formation of their society. I could have connected with the world a lot more if I knew where they were coming from.
I also had trouble believing Lena’s transformation from obedient citizen to rebel girl in love. The change happens so quickly, like the flick of switch, and it didn’t feel at all realistic to me. Her relationship with Alex is similarly fast-paced. Although I enjoyed their very first interactions, it was like all of a sudden Lena decided she was in love with him and after that everything just felt too quick. I feel like we hardly got any scenes with just the two of them interacting and getting to know each other. If you’ve read my blog before you might know that I like my romances to simmer and burn slowly before gradually building up to an explosive climax (although quiet explosions are quite okay :D), and I didn’t get that at all in Delirium.
Now, these things are not say that I didn’t enjoy Delirium at all. Lauren Oliver is stunning with words and the novel was written absolutely beautifully. It was an enjoyable read for me, it just wasn’t amazing. I went in expecting to be completely blown away, and I think it’s because my expectations were so high that I was let down harder than I would have been otherwise. I just wanted so much more. I’m hoping that the next book in the series, Pandemonium, will address some of the issues I had with Delirium and end up capturing my heart after all....more
Initial thoughts: I'm having a lot of trouble being coherent right now and not just a giggling, grinning, squeeing mess. <3
Full review (can also beInitial thoughts: I'm having a lot of trouble being coherent right now and not just a giggling, grinning, squeeing mess. <3
Full review (can also be found on my blog From A to Z):
This has been by far one of my most highly anticipated novels for the last several months. Ever since finishing Anna and the French Kiss I was ready to jump right back into another Stephanie Perkins masterpiece, and I’m so happy to say that Lola and the Boy Next Door does not disappoint. At all. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
Everything about it is wonderful: the fun and quirky cast of characters (including the reappearance of two of our favorites from Anna and the French Kiss *happy squeal*), the setting of San Francisco (which I was lucky enough to visit for the first time earlier this summer), and a heartwrenching and smile-inducing story of old misunderstandings, teenage longing, and childhood friends finally falling in love (which caused a lot of excited squeaking and happy sighing on my part).
Just like in Anna, the supporting characters are all fantastic and made me wish the book was ten times longer so we could get to know each of them better. Lola’s two dads are such wonderful fictional parents; supportive and loving, yet firm and protective too. Even Calliope, though pretty unlikeable at first, ended up being quite an intriguing character, and I’m really looking forward to the possibility of seeing her (and others!) in the next book, Isla and the Happily Ever After.
Lola herself is fantastic, of course, and her fashion sense is SO FUN. She’s like a young, slightly toned-down Lady Gaga. And even though I could never BE her (the time and effort it must take her to get dressed every day! I’m exhausted already!), I absolutely loved reading about it. We could totally be friends.
Although if we WERE friends, we would definitely get in a fight over Cricket, that’s for sure. Oh my gosh, you guys, THIS BOY. Cricket is quirky and sweet and geeky and awkward and adorable and I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH. Watching him long for Lola made my heart hurt (Psst, take me instead, Cricket!). One of the things I loved about Anna was how REAL it was, how realistically Etienne acted and how beautifully their friendship unfolded. Somehow, Stephanie has managed to kick it up a notch in the “real” department with Lola. Cricket is so real. And kind of perfect. He’s the kind of guy I would love to date. He’s the kind of guy I would love my daughter to date (I don’t have a daughter yet, FYI). Plus, he’s TALL. Like, really tall. (Sorry Etienne.)
It’s not that I don’t love my paranormals, but sometimes you just want to read a story that could actually HAPPEN. A story where you can shamelessly insert yourself into Cricket’s arms and know that it could be real life. Something sweet, painful, romantic, awkward, heartbreaking, and totally swoonworthy. The joy in reading this book isn’t in the mysterious love interest, the main character discovering she is a (insert supernatural creature here), or the shocking twist at the end, it’s in the sweet little moments that make you smile and sigh with happiness. It’s in bridges built between windows and conversations with the moon. And it has completely stolen my heart.
Reading Lola and the Boy Next Door was seriously the most fun I’ve had in ages. I literally had to put it down several times while reading so I could get up and do a crazy dance around the room because I was so giddy. I’m pretty sure there were happy squeaking noises coming from my room the whole time.
In addition to the adorableness of Cricket, a considerable amount of these fangirl reactions was thanks to Anna and St. Clair, who are in the book as actual characters, not just cameo appearances (yay!). There were several tiny little references to things from Anna and the French Kiss, which made me sooooo happy, and after casting several adoring glances at my copy of Anna on the shelf, it eventually just moved to the bed with me. Let me tell you, Lola, Anna and I had an AWESOME party.
I absolutely cannot wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After, although having to leave all these fantastic characters for the final time is going to be heartbreaking. If I could live in a fictional series it would totally be this one (except that all the awesome guys are already taken! :P Stephanie, write my life, please? Kay, thanks.).
Oh, and the best thing about Lola and the Boy Next Door? *points upwards* Check out that release date! IT’S OUT TODAY, PEOPLE! What are you waiting for? You don’t want another minute to go by without reading this book....more
For the past few months I’d been seeing reviews of Anna and the French Kiss everywhere I looked, and eRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z
For the past few months I’d been seeing reviews of Anna and the French Kiss everywhere I looked, and everyone was absolutely raving about it. Maybe I’m just cynical, but I kept thinking ‘There’s no way it can be THAT good, come on, it’s just another YA contemporary chick lit.’ BUT HOO BABY I WAS SO SO WRONG.
This book is SO GOOD. I am absolutely officially on the Anna and the French Kiss bandwagon, waving my hat and hollering at the top of my lungs. Everyone needs to go out and read this NOW.
On the surface (as evidenced by my earlier cynicism), there’s nothing particularly original or special about the storyline. But the thing is, it doesn’t even matter, because Stephanie Perkins pulls it off SO well that it doesn’t feel like anything you’ve read before.
It’s funny, sweet, romantic, and heartbreaking, and the characters are all incredibly wonderful and fleshed out and you just want to be best friends with all of them. Anna’s voice is so realistic and fun to read, and Étienne St. Clair is pretty much the perfect real boy, with perfect real boy flaws. He isn’t one of those brooding and mysterious types, he’s REAL. And lovely. So so lovely.
My absolute favorite thing about Anna and the French Kiss is the evolution of Anna and Étienne’s relationship. Although Anna immediately has a crush on him, they end up becoming friends first, and not just friends, but best friends. And that trumps everything, even her interest in being with him romantically. I LOVE that. It’s such a refreshing change from so many novels where the love interests experience “love at first sight” and everything is so intense and all-consuming right from the beginning. This is slow and gradual and their friendship is so beautiful that the fact that they do eventually get together is just the cherry on top. (Although I will admit, heads would have been rolling if they HADN’T ended up together. Haha.)
This book is like the perfect YA contemporary romance. I was giddy and grinning the entire time I was reading it, and then when I finished I just lay there for a while clutching the book to my chest and sighing in happiness. And then I proceeded to go back and reread all my favorite parts. It is just SO WONDERFUL.
I realize that this review is only somewhat coherent, but when you read the book you will understand. Trust me. Go read it. Now. It’s one of my favorite books of all time and I will be rereading it forever....more
Yes, sometimes I read romance novels. They’re a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine and I’m not afraid to admit it. And while The Devil in Disguise may not be the best romance novel available, I had a lot of fun reading it.
For a romance novel, there isn’t actually a lot of sex in The Devil in Disguise, which kind of threw me off at first and made me think I wasn’t enjoying it (because come on, let’s be honest, that’s what you’re expecting when you read a romance, right?). The banter and verbal foreplay (for lack of a better term) between William and Lucinda is excellent, but their scenes in the bedroom are limited, both in quantity and quality, which was a big disappointment after such great buildup.
Once I accepted this, though, I found myself actually enjoying the novel. It’s a pretty standard romance in terms of plot and outcome, but the journey to get there is highly entertaining. I love the spy/bodyguard premise and both Lucinda and William are such fun characters. Although I have to say, I never really understood why Lucinda was the victim of a kidnapping plot. I don’t know if I missed something somewhere, but that just never made much sense to me.
All in all, if you’re a fan of Regency romance, you’ll probably like this book. It’s a light, fun read that, while not the best Regency out there, is sure to keep you entertained for a couple of hours....more
Eight teenagers are ready for the summer of a lifetime – as part of a Leadership Cruise on board the schooner Dreadnought. BuReviewed for TeensReadToo
Eight teenagers are ready for the summer of a lifetime – as part of a Leadership Cruise on board the schooner Dreadnought. But when the camp owner commits suicide just a few days into the cruise, rather than go back home, the teens decide to take charge of the ship themselves. They tie knots into a piece of rope, one knot for each day of summer remaining, and then set off to enjoy their 68 days of freedom.
The journey is not always easy, and they face many challenges along the way – including struggles for leadership, failed romances, storms, desertions, damages to the ship, and diminishing food supplies. But it’s not all difficult, and they manage to have several fun adventures as well, such as trying to rescue a whale, searching for buried treasure, raiding yachts, racing other boats, and going hunting for seals.
The teens may not have had the summer experience they were expecting, but they are all undoubtedly changed by their time aboard the Dreadnought, as new friendships and relationships are formed, and they all begin to question their own futures.
68 KNOTS is a very fun read, and I really enjoyed it. The characters are interesting and diverse (although a couple of them have rather annoying habits), and the book is full of great details about sailing a ship. Even though the crew of the Dreadnought gets into some pretty sticky situations, anyone who reads this is bound to want to go out and experience the same summer at sea as these kids – I know I do!...more
101 WAYS TO DANCE is an amazing collection of short stories that each deal with a different aspect of teenage sexuality. TheReviewed for TeensReadToo
101 WAYS TO DANCE is an amazing collection of short stories that each deal with a different aspect of teenage sexuality. The stories vary in length and tone, covering a vast array of topics that include everything from teen pregnancies, mental illness, and terminal cancer to struggling with coming out to friends and feeling inappropriate lust for cousins.
As is bound to happen with a collection, there were certain stories that I enjoyed more than others, but each one is brilliant in its own way. Some of my favorites include CHICKEN, which is less than two pages long and involves a game of chicken between two teenagers in a church basement, and the title story, 101 WAYS TO DANCE, which is just that: a very creative list of one hundred and one ways to dance.
Kathy Stinson has created believable, likeable characters and realistic storylines that teenagers will be able to identify with, even if they have not had similar experiences. Each story is a gem, a refreshing coming-of-age tale, and I would highly encourage every teenager to go out and read this book, because it shows us that there truly are one hundred and one (and many, many more) ways to dance....more
It’s the year 1720, and Annalisa Townsend and her father are on their way to the Caribbean island of Mourning to set up a govReviewed for TeensReadToo
It’s the year 1720, and Annalisa Townsend and her father are on their way to the Caribbean island of Mourning to set up a governorship when they are attacked by pirates. Hiding in the hold, Anna is discovered by the young James Sterling, who, surprisingly, says nothing of her whereabouts to the rest of the pirate crew. When he goes to take her necklace, however, which is all she has left of her mother, she begs him not to and he agrees, but only in exchange for a kiss. He then disappears with the rest of the pirates, and so does the treasure that the ship was carrying.
One year later, Anna has found a ship and crew of her own, and sets out to find James Sterling, determined to get her father’s treasure back. She finds James and takes him prisoner easily enough, but getting him to cooperate is another matter entirely. As she spends more and more time with him, she slowly begins to forget that he is a pirate and starts to fall for him. James seems to feel the same about her, but has he really given up his pirating ways, and can she ever really trust him?
TO CATCH A PIRATE is a fun summer read full of swashbuckling adventure and romance on the high seas. Jade Parker, who also writes as Rachel Hawthorne and Lorraine Heath, has created a fantastic world with likeable characters that are sure to win over readers....more
Chloe Rand seems to have the perfect life. She’s about to start her junior year of high school, she has a great boyfriend andReviewed for TeensReadToo
Chloe Rand seems to have the perfect life. She’s about to start her junior year of high school, she has a great boyfriend and a close group of girlfriends, and she’s incredibly gorgeous. But when her boyfriend moves across the country, dumping her at the airport right before he leaves, everything seems to fall apart.
Now Chloe realizes that being a stunningly beautiful, suddenly single girl at high school isn’t easy. Guys aren’t sure how to treat her, girls don’t trust her, and Chloe’s junior year isn’t going at all as planned.
Chloe decides to take charge of her own life and get out of the bubble she’s been living in, but when the first thing she does is fall for Billy, who is a complete geek and totally out of the range of the “old Chloe,” will it make things easier, or harder?
I’ve really enjoyed all of the Simon Romantic Comedies, particularly Niki Burnham’s other contributions, and SCARY BEAUTIFUL is no exception. It’s a great book that really challenges the “popular girl” stereotypes, and teens are sure to have fun reading it....more
Princess Mia is back in this seventh installment of the popular PRINCESS DIARIES series, and as usual, she's facing more probReviewed for TeensReadToo
Princess Mia is back in this seventh installment of the popular PRINCESS DIARIES series, and as usual, she's facing more problems than she knows what to do with. She's recently been elected student body president, which shouldn't really be that difficult a job since she's been in training to rule her own county someday, but it turns out that the student government is broke.
As if that weren't enough, Lilly starts a new literary magazine, calls it Fat Louie's Pink Butthole, and wants to publish Mia's story about the Guy Who Hates It When They Put Corn in the Chili, a story that Mia would rather the entire student body not read.
Luckily (or not so luckily, depending on how you look at it), there's Grandmere to the rescue, and she's got a plan to help Mia's financial situation, social situation, and romantic situation all at once (not that Mia was aware she had a romantic "situation" in the first place). Unfortunately, Mia's romantic issues become all too clear when Michael decides to throw a party, and Mia starts freaking out because she's not a "party girl."
Fans of the previous PRINCESS DIARIES books won't want to miss this and will definitely enjoy reading along as Mia shares her crazy high school experiences through her journal. Meg Cabot's writing is light and breezy as always, and perfect for a lazy afternoon....more
Picking up right where the first book left off, Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever takes Max and the rest of the flock on a wReviewed for Hip Scouts
Picking up right where the first book left off, Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever takes Max and the rest of the flock on a whirlwind adventure. The flock is still on the run from some of the same old baddies, but now they have new foes to deal with as well, including a Max clone. However, they're not entirely on their own, and help comes from some unexpected people. But are they really trying to help? Only time will tell.
And not only do they have to worry about staying alive, grades now hang in the balance for the flock. Once again, they find themselves in school... but this time it's for real. New challenges are faced every day, with classes, teachers, an evil principal, field trips, and even possible romances, all while new powers are being discovered and developed.
With this book, James Patterson manages to prove once again what a great storyteller he is. I'd never even read any of his books before, but Maximum Ride has turned me into a true fan. Fun and enjoyable to read, with a great plot and interesting characters, it will not disappoint. Full of surprising twists and turns, School's Out - Forever will leave fans feeling satisfied, yet eagerly anticipating the next Maximum Ride....more
Kaitlyn Nichols doesn't have your typical parents. Her father is a member of the FBI secret service and is often gone for lonReviewed for TeensReadToo
Kaitlyn Nichols doesn't have your typical parents. Her father is a member of the FBI secret service and is often gone for long periods of time. Her mother is a sex (excuse me, "relationship") columnist, and her research frequently involves piles of thongs and condoms lying around the house. However, despite what one might think, her parents' work doesn't usually affect Kaitlyn too much. Until now.
Enter Blaine Donovan, AKA "Gordon," AKA the son of a Texas billionaire, AKA major hottie. Blaine's father is in the middle of a big business deal, and his rivals have started threatening the family. So, Kaitlyn's dad has put Blaine in the Witness Protection Program as Gordon Dennis Nichols, Kaitlyn's third-cousin who has come to live with her family and go to school with her for a few months. Now Kaitlyn is responsible for keeping Blaine safe and watching for anything suspicious. She brushes up on her spy tricks by watching Alias, The Bourne Identity, and James Bond, and she feels ready to handle anything that comes her way. But when she starts to fall for Blaine, she realizes that she's broken the number one rule of being a secret agent: she's gotten emotionally involved.
I've really enjoyed all the books in the Simon Romantic Comedies series, and LOVE UNDERCOVER is a great addition. The spy stuff doesn't overwhelm the book, but it's just enough to be fun, and Kaitlyn deals with problems that every teenager faces: liking the popular boy who doesn't know you exist, dealing with mean popular girls, and occasionally keeping secrets even from best friends. I definitely hope that Jo Edwards contributes more books to the Romantic Comedies series – and soon!...more
When mischievous sisters Maggie and Kate Fox hear that their dreaded niece, Lizzie, is coming for a visit, they immediately sReviewed for TeensReadToo
When mischievous sisters Maggie and Kate Fox hear that their dreaded niece, Lizzie, is coming for a visit, they immediately start thinking of ways to get rid of her. Their prank takes the form of rapping noises that spell out messages from the dead, but instead of making Lizzie flee in fear, their plan backfires, and soon they have not only Lizzie and their family convinced, but the whole town.
All of a sudden, neighbors want to hold séances to give messages to their deceased loved ones, an innocent man is accused of murder, and a reporter comes to investigate, turning their harmless little prank into something much bigger.
The girls are thrilled with all the attention, but when their older sister, Leah, makes a visit and witnesses a spirit rapping for herself, she immediately sees through their shenanigans and recognizes that it is one of their tricks. Rather than turning them in, however, she gives them a choice: come with her and allow her to take charge of the rappings and make the decisions, or be revealed as frauds. Under Leah’s control, the spirit circles turn into a business venture, as she starts charging admission and adds a vast arsenal of spooky tricks to the evening’s entertainment.
The sisters travel around holding séances, and their fame grows, giving rise to spiritualism and mesmerism, and causing many more “mediums” to be discovered. Not everyone is impressed, though, and more than once they find themselves confronted by disbelievers and skeptics, even having to flee for their lives on occasion.
One of these skeptics is Elisha Kent Kane, a charismatic and well-known Arctic explorer who, despite his misgivings about her occupation, takes a great liking to Maggie and begins to court her. He insists that she give up the spirit rapping and the deception, even offering to provide her with an education and place to stay in order to improve her social status. Maggie finds herself with a decision to make, as she is torn between her feelings for Elisha and what he can provide, and her old way of life and the acceptance of her family.
HIGH SPIRITS is a fascinating book, made even more interesting by the fact that the story of the Fox sisters is based in truth. I enjoyed every second of reading it, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Readers will be swept along with Maggie and Kate as they bamboozle an entire nation, and will feel for Maggie as she debates whether or not to leave the profession and then has to deal with the consequences of her decision.
Dianne K. Salerni has written a brilliant debut novel and I am eagerly awaiting her next....more
When 16-year-old Tessa sees the orange dodgeball flying at her from across her high school gym, it never evenReviewed for TeensReadToo and Hip Scouts
When 16-year-old Tessa sees the orange dodgeball flying at her from across her high school gym, it never even occurs to her to duck. Soon after, she finds herself floating towards heaven, which looks just like the mall where her parents work and where she has spent a good deal of her life.
She is led to the Lost and Found, where she is given a bag of items: items that she has taken home from the mall during her lifetime, and each item takes her on a journey to her past. She relives several memories, many of which she'd rather forget, and she realizes that it is up to her to sort through her life up until the moment the dodgeball hits her and finally answer the most important question of all.
I really enjoyed HEAVEN LOOKS A LOT LIKE THE MALL, and would definitely recommend it, especially to fans of stories like A CHRISTMAS CAROL. It is written in verse, but if that's not your thing don't let it stop you. About a quarter of the way through I stopped noticing the verse because I was so engrossed in the story, and Wendy Mass does a wonderful job making the reader feel for Tessa, even if she's not always the most likeable person. Whether you're looking for a fun summer read, an interesting verse novel, or a deeper story about life and death, you shouldn't miss HEAVEN LOOKS A LOT LIKE THE MALL....more
When his mother forces him to move with her to a new house, Evan Calhoun doesn’t expect much. Sure, he’ll have to move all his stuff, but he’ll stillWhen his mother forces him to move with her to a new house, Evan Calhoun doesn’t expect much. Sure, he’ll have to move all his stuff, but he’ll still go to the same school and have the same friends.
Little does he know that there’s a spirit occupying his new room, a spirit who will mistake him for her dead lover and change his life forever.
BEATING HEART was really interesting, and my favorite part was the way the story is told. The point of view alternates between Evan and the ghost, and the ghost speaks in beautiful verse fragments that definitely make the book worth reading....more
When he is thirteen, Bernie Federman moves to Pittstown, New Jersey. Proudly different than anybody else, he doesn't knReviewed for Flamingnet Reviews
When he is thirteen, Bernie Federman moves to Pittstown, New Jersey. Proudly different than anybody else, he doesn't know anyone in the eighth grade, and from the very first day of school sits in the back of the classroom. Then he meets Winifred Owens, also fiercely individualistic, and possibly the only person less popular at school than Bernie. They fall in love and begin planning their life together. Both very intelligent, they are at the top of their class and apply to all the same colleges, neither of them dreaming they'll end up somewhere different than the other.
Then, shortly before graduation, tragedy strikes for Bernie, and all his dreams fall apart. He stops going to school, dropping to the bottom of the class, and starts working in a tire shop, abandoning his plans for college. Winifred is heartbroken, but presses on, going across the country to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara. Once there, she realizes just how much she doesn't fit in, and with the help of her new roommates, she gets a makeover and becomes 'Wini,' changing her major from nanoscience to communications and spending her time partying, gossiping, and drinking lattes. Meanwhile, Bernie realizes he may have lost her forever, so he travels crosscountry to catch up with her. However, once he finds her again and realizes that she's become 'ordinary,' it may be too late for them.
I really loved this book. It's different than a lot of the teen romances available today in that it deals with the dark horses, the underdogs, the "unpopular" kids. You really find yourself rooting for Bernie and Winifred to make it work, for Winifred to wake up and realize how silly she's being, and you want them to get back together in the end. From the moment I picked it up, I didn't stop reading ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY, and I would definitely recommend it. It's a great look at the first year of college and how much it can change a person (for better or for worse), and although the ending is slightly bittersweet, it still leaves the reader with a smile. I'll definitely keep my eyes open for other books by Valerie Hobbs.
Adult guidance recommended, as this book involves the lives of college students and deals with alcohol and sexual situations....more
I have been looking forward to this book ever since I finished TITHE, and Holly Black most definitely does not disappoint. IRReviewed for TeensReadToo
I have been looking forward to this book ever since I finished TITHE, and Holly Black most definitely does not disappoint. IRONSIDE picks up soon after the events in TITHE and VALIANT, and takes the reader on another breathless journey into the amazing and deadly world of Faerie.
Things have been uneasy ever since Roiben assumed the throne of the Unseelie Court, and with the threat of war in the air and Roiben's coronation drawing near, everyone is on edge. Changeling Kaye Fierch knows that she loves Roiben, but she feels increasingly unwelcome and out of place in the Unseelie Court. So the night of the coronation, determined to prove herself to Roiben and the rest of the court, she makes a formal declaration and pledges herself to him as his consort. However, faerie custom demands that a quest be undertaken before anyone can sit as the Lord's consort, and Roiben grants Kaye an impossible task: to find a fairy who can tell an untruth. Now she is forbidden from seeing or speaking to him until she completes something she knows cannot be done.
Kaye doesn't know where to go, because she has been feeling uncomfortable at home as well, knowing that she stole a human child's life. In a moment of desperation, she tells her mother the truth: that she is a changeling that was switched with Ellen's real daughter, the real Kaye, and she vows to retrieve her from the Seelie Court and return her to Ellen. She feels that this, at least, is something she can do, even if there's no way she can complete Roiben's quest.
But with all the tension between the courts there is nowhere safe, and in venturing into the Seelie Court to find her human counterpart, Kaye puts herself within reach of Lady Silarial. Silarial wants Roiben's throne, and she's willing do anything, including use Kaye, to get it. Once again Kaye finds herself in the middle of Faerie politics, but this time Roiben's not there to save her, and she may not have a way out.
In my personal experience it is rare that a sequel ever lives up to the first book, but IRONSIDE does just that. Full of court rivalry, deception and betrayal, sword fights and murder, faerie curses, new romances, and even characters from VALIANT, IRONSIDE is another wonderful foray into the dark, gritty world of Faerie and will not leave readers disappointed. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you pound your pillow in frustration and clap your hands in delight. My one and only complaint is that this is the last book set in this amazing world....more
It’s no secret that I ADORE Jennifer Echols. And whenever I’m asked which book is my favorite, I say The Boys Next Door pretty much automatically, because it is. But overall, between her romantic comedies and her romantic dramas, my heart melts a little more for her dramas. SO. What does this have to do with Such a Rush, you wonder?
To me, Such a Rush felt like the perfect combination of The Boys Next Door and her romantic dramas. Some of my favorite elements of The Boys Next Door are there: a girl getting caught up in the drama between two brothers, fake relationships, real fights, and more secrets than anyone knows what to do with… But it has that mature, intense feel of her dramas, both in terms of actual content (we all know Jennifer can write a steamy love scene like nobody’s business), and in terms of motivations and consequences. This isn’t just fun, high school fluff, this is real life, and the tension (sexual and otherwise :P) that Jennifer builds is fantastic.
And through it all is that signature style of sass and humor that she does so well and that I am so in love with. One of my favorite lines, and I’m not even sure why it stuck with me so much, is after a helicopter unexpectedly lands at the airport and a group gets out and heads toward Leah and the other people working at the airport:
“The lieutenant leading the group was a tall blond. I couldn’t tell for sure since he was wearing mirrored shades, but I thought he was boyishly handsome, like Alec. He came straight for me because, dressed in a bikini top, I was obviously in charge of this airport.”
HA! The whole book is full of that snarky kind of humor. I love it.
And if you’ve ever harbored any kind of secret desire to become a pilot, Such a Rush will completely hit the spot and make you look up the nearest flight school. Both the emotional and the practical details of flying a plane were incredible; I felt like I was right there with Leah every step of the way. Oh, and going to prom in a limo? Officially not cool enough. (No offense to any limo-goers out there.)
I absolutely LOVE Such a Rush. Jennifer Echols has totally outdone herself and this is possibly my new favorite from her. I’m so excited for her next book (as always) but at the same time I just want to bask in the awesomeness of this one. Such a Rush has characters that will wrap you around their little fingers and make you care SO MUCH about them, drama that will make you laugh, cheer, and growl in frustration, sexy times that will make you sigh and swoon, and a last line that will put a smile on your face and (if you’re as emotional as I am) a tear in your eye.
You MUST read this book. This is contemporary at its finest, folks, right here. <3...more
Ok you guys, about ten or so years ago Meg Cabot was one of my absolute favorite authors. I read and reread every single thing she wrote, forced my frOk you guys, about ten or so years ago Meg Cabot was one of my absolute favorite authors. I read and reread every single thing she wrote, forced my friends to read her books so we could gush over the guys together, obsessively checked her blog for new updates, I even wrote fan fiction for her Mediator series. Then as I got older something happened, and I found that I wasn’t connecting to her newer books as much.
So when I decided to pick up Abandon I was a little nervous that the same thing would happen, but I needn’t have worried! This is the first Meg Cabot book I’ve read in ages, and I can honestly say that I LOVED it.
One of the things that I really like about Abandon is that it fits into the ever popular paranormal genre of young adult fiction without actually including vampires, werewolves, zombies, faeries, fallen angels, etc. Not that I don’t love books about any of those things, but there are so many out there these days that this is a refreshing change. I’ve always loved the myth of Hades and Persephone and this is such a fun modern retelling.
Pierce is a likeable heroine, and her relationship with John is one of the highlights of the novel for me. Meg sure knows how to write a love interest (Jesse and Rob, anyone?) and every time John showed up I got excited. That element of danger and mystery just never gets old! He didn’t have many appearances in this book, but since this is the start of a trilogy I have faith that we’ll get to know him much better. ;)
I will say that I felt like the beginning dragged a bit, with Pierce constantly alluding to things that had happened without ever giving us the full story until midway through the book. This got frustrating after a while, but once everything was revealed the last half of the book was pretty much a whirlwind right up until the riveting cliffhanger conclusion.
I’m so glad I decided to read Abandon, I think it might be just the thing I needed to get me back on my Meg Cabot kick. And now I can’t wait to read the second book in the trilogy, Underworld!
Guess what everyone, it’s a paranormal romance about something other than vampires, werewolves, fairieRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z
Guess what everyone, it’s a paranormal romance about something other than vampires, werewolves, fairies, or fallen angels! Finally! That is probably my favorite thing about this book. The idea of revenants is such a refreshing change and it was really fun to read about. I like that we have no idea what is going on with Vincent until Kate finds out – we can tell something is up, obviously, but it’s fun to uncover the details with her. There were a few confusing things in the revenant mythology, but not enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.
I also love the setting – Paris is such a cool city and I’ve loved getting to read about it through various recent YA novels (Anna and the French Kiss being the obvious one, of course :P). It also really fits with the slightly creepy, gothic feel of the story. The characters are all well-developed and likeable for the most part, although sometimes Ambrose felt a bit like a caricature – just a little too dramatic and over-the-top. Kate also has waaaaayyy too many nicknames for one character.
I did have a couple of issues with Die For Me, one of which was the romance. It starts off great, and compared to many YA paranormals out there it’s done well, but it does tend to lean a little too much toward the dramatic star-crossed lovers-who-can’t-stay-away-from-each-other for my taste. Kate can be incredibly indecisive and angsty at times and I didn’t fully understand the motivation for all of her actions and decisions. The plot itself is also quite predictable. The idea and mythology of revenants is fantastic, but the execution of the storyline was fairly standard.
That said, Die For Me does have a great cast of characters, a wonderful setting, and a fresh take on the paranormal, all of which make it an enjoyable and entertaining debut novel. I can’t wait for the sequel....more
In this third installment in the Fallen series we join Luce as she travels back in time through thousands of years, visiting her past lives in an attempt to understand the love she and Daniel share, as well as the curse that keeps tearing them apart.
I enjoyed the first two books in this series well enough, but I had a lot of trouble getting into this one. The whole novel just felt very long and drawn out, and when it was finished I wasn’t really sure what we had gained from the 400 plus pages. By the end of it I felt like we were at almost the exact same place as we were at the end of Torment, except for the fact that Luce feels more secure in herself and Daniel. I just don’t know that we needed a whole book for that. The supposed “revelations” about Daniel and their relationship that Luce made as she visited each of her past incarnations didn’t feel like anything new to me, and she was very frustrating and immature at times.
I also really missed the secondary characters. Passion focuses almost solely on Luce and Daniel, and although I know that this series is about their story, it felt very empty without the frequent appearances of the other characters we’ve come to know and love. I’m definitely looking forward to having them back in on the action in Rapture, the fourth book.
One of the things that I did like about Passion is that it is told in alternating viewpoints between Luce and Daniel. For the first time, we get to see through Daniel’s eyes for extended periods of time, and as he is much more informed about everything than Luce is, this is a lot more rewarding and satisfying for the reader. We finally get to understand the origin of the curse placed on Luce and Daniel, as well as more information about the Fall and the eventual split between the angels and the demons. Daniel’s chapters were much more enjoyable for me to read than Luce’s, to be honest.
I also have to give credit to Lauren Kate, because the amount of research she had to do to be able to accurately portray so many different places and time periods in one book must have been extensive. Each of Luce’s past lives felt real and well-developed, I just which we could have gotten to spend a little more time in each one!
I think one of my main issues with this series as a whole is that I’ve never really bought into the timelessness and intensity of Luce and Daniel’s relationship. We hear it described as this amazing and endless love, but I feel like we’re only ever told that, and I never really see or feel the passion and chemistry between them. Show me they're in love, don't just tell me over and over! I found myself thinking that if I were Daniel I’d just leave Luce alone and quit killing her every time. It’d make everything easier for everyone.
Overall, Passion felt more like a lead-in to the final book in the series, rather than a complete novel on its own, and I was left feeling disappointed. I’m still planning to read Rapture though, if only for some closure to the story....more
Jennifer Echols is one of the few authors on my “automatic buy” list, so you can imagine that I was THRILLED when I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Love Story. I devoured it in less than 24 hours and I’m so excited to share my thoughts.
Jennifer has such a unique writing style that just pulls you right in, you don’t even need a few chapters to get absorbed in the story. She has created the backdrops of New York and Kentucky beautifully, and I loved the details about the world of horse racing.
One of my favorite things about all of Jennifer’s novels is that her main characters already know each other and have some history when the story begins – none of this love at first sight business, because honestly that can be kind of boring to me. I love it when there’s already background and conflict and they have something to build on. It makes the end result when they finally get together even better. And hoo boy was there conflict in this book. The kind of conflict that builds into more and more tension between the characters until you’re yelling at them “Just make out already!” and people start to look at you funny.
I really liked Erin as a character, flaws and all. Jennifer’s main female characters are always so kickass – they’re feisty, hilarious, clever, witty, they can hold their own – every time I read one of her books I find myself trying to emulate them. Hunter is also completely swoonworthy, although he seems like a jerk at times. There’s a fine line between writing a love interest that’s a little bit evil and challenges the heroine and one that’s just unforgivably mean, and I think Hunter walks that line perfectly.
There is incredible chemistry between all the characters, which is another quality that I love about Jennifer’s books. Not just the chemistry between Erin and Hunter – although that is smoking, you can practically see steam rising from the pages (or in my case, the computer screen) – but also the chemistry between Erin and her roommates, Hunter and his roommates, and the group dynamic as a whole. I just want to be best friends with all of them.
I also thought it was really fun that the book was set in college, since so much of YA literature takes place in high school. As a recent college grad the change of setting was nice and familiar, although as an RA for three years, the beach party in the bathroom was slightly horrifying. :P Another awesome touch was the fact that we got to read the stories Hunter and Erin were writing throughout their class. I loved being right there with them as they exchanged barbs, and I looked forward to reading their next stories as much as the rest of the class.
The one thing I would have liked to see more of was the relationship between Erin and her grandmother. We don’t actually get to see them interact at all, and since the whole premise is that Erin has been cut off by her grandmother I felt like it would have been nice to see at least one scene where they get to have a conversation or some kind of interaction. This wasn’t a huge issue for me, just a thought.
Overall I loved Love Story, and I literally couldn’t put it down. I started it one evening and read until about 4 in the morning when I finally forced myself to stop and get some sleep. Then the next day I picked right back up again until I was finished, even carrying my laptop with me so I could read in the car (don’t worry, I wasn’t driving :P).
Love Story doesn’t come out until July 19th, but TRUST ME when I say it’s worth the wait. Only 53 more days!...more