Friday, May 29, 2009

Traveling To Teens: Sarah Cross

Traveling to TeensThis is my first Traveling to Teens tour and I couldn't be more excited to participate as well as share this opportunity with all you readers! I get to share this special day with an amazing author, Ms. Sarah Cross with her new debut novel DULL BOY which hit shelves May 14, 2009.

Sarah Cross grew up in Ohio. She started writing at the age of 12 has written tales of suburban girl-gang warfare, overly ambitious high fantasy, campy romps through time, pop-culture parody, 'zines, plays, literary fiction, and ultra-derivative comics. Sarah went to college in New York and Japan and she now resides in New York. Dull Boy is her debut novel.

Avery is desperate to just be dull and normal. Unfortunately though, that will never be the case as he as superpowers. Yes that’s right – superpowers - as in he can lift a car like one lifts a can of pop and of course he can fly! The thing is though Avery has lost all of his friends as he tries to fade into the background, hoping no one will figure our his secret. As he goes through his day-to-day life he always seeks a new way to help people, but then one day he goes too far. In an attempt to stop a robbery he creates a lot of damage and ends up meeting a mysterious lady named Cherchette who can cause a room to be chilling cold and creates ice. When his parents find out about the damage he caused in his attempt for a good deed they opt to send him to reform school, hoping to get him back on the right track.

Avery actually finds his new school to be somewhat cool. Yes, there are a ton more bullies and guys that can’t stand him, but he meets Darla, the girl genius. The two quickly become friends and Darla soon introduces him to Sophie, Catherine and Nick, three other super children. Together the four children embark on adventure after adventure anywhere from saving lost campers to just having fun together.

Of course, as with any great superhero (or in this case superheroes) there comes an evil mastermind. This group of heroes must go on their toughest adventure yet to hopefully destroy this mastermind once and for all.

*Please excuse the brief fangirl moment*

This book was AMAZING. By far the best debut novel I’ve read so far this year. It had all the elements needed to make a book amazing.

Now onto the real review (although the few sentences above completely describe my feelings!). Sarah Cross told a story about a super guy wanting to be dull and turned it into a supercharged adventure, making the reader wish they were not just normal, but super, just like Avery. This book literally has everything - smarts, hilarity, a little bit of romance, tons of action, and of course, phenomenal characters.

The story itself was fun, down to earth, and anything but dull. The author really developed the plot, making sure the main plot was showcased, but also creating a few little side plots that were just as good. There were lots of twists and turns that I never saw coming always urging me to keep on reading. What would have been really cool is if we had gotten to see the story from a couple different perspectives, but hey I’m not complaining, Avery’s voice was great. That’s another thing that was really impressive, the fact that Sarah Cross was able to create a male protagonist and make him sound and feel authentic without overdoing it and making him perverted.

This leads me into the characters, which I believe absolutely made the book. Each and everyone was well developed and had their own quirks. Avery and Catherine were by far my favorite characters. Their personalities jumped off of the page and they were extremely realistic. I instantly felt a connection with both these characters, sympathizing with them at their low points and cheering them on for their high points. I thought it was splendid how well the author was really able to make the characters stand up from the pages and make the story come to life right in front of your eyes.  Oh, and then there is the evil mastermind (you must read the book in order to identify this mysterious character) who was just sooo evil that all I wanted to do was strangle them…ahh the reality of it all!

Overall this was such a great book. There was some great dialogue between the characters that made me giggle and I loved how each character came to accept themselves over time. Adventure, superpowers, and even a little bit of romance combine to make a super strength novel by debut novelist Sarah Cross. I absolutely cannot wait for more from Ms. Cross and very much hope that the DULL BOY adventures continue.
Now on to the interview!

With a name like Sarah Cross you must be some form of secret agent/spy/superhero. So please spill…which are you?

I'm a perfectly normal civilian!! Please ignore those pictures you've seen of me wearing a pink ninja costume. And that subterranean lair I sometimes disappear into? That is just ... um ... I am performing routine maintenance work on a, uh, drain pipe. Yes ...

In DULL BOY Avery has a hard time finding the right “group of friends.” Was this an event you pulled out of your own life, or do you think it is something that all teens struggle with?

Wow, yes, nice job spotting that, LOL. I definitely had a friend-shift in high school. My BFFs went in all different directions, and I went in another--although I do think a lot of teens struggle with that. You're often a different person in 9th grade than you were in middle school, and a lot of those friendships don't carry over. It's natural to drift apart from people; the sucky part is that, yeah, it's pretty obvious you don't belong with your old friends--but who DO you belong with? It's a huge relief when you realize that the things that make you a freak to some people, make you awesome to others.

What started your love for comics and superheroes?

The old 1990s X-Men cartoon (now on DVD!) was what really set me on a superhero-loving path. Was there anything surlier than cartoon Wolverine, who, in a fit of rage, used his claws to slice off the top of Cyclop's car, inadvertently giving him a convertible? Anyone more quotable than cartoon Beast, who ensured I'd be saying "Though I am always in haste, I am never in a hurry" for years to come? And who didn't love Gambit & Rogue's over the top accents--which went perfectly with their over the top romance?
Once I saw that cartoon, I was hooked. I found my local comic shop and waved goodbye to all my money.

As a debut novelist I’m sure you’ve been surprised by some things in the literary world (maybe not, as I am convinced you have superpowers). What shocked you the most?

I was shocked that hazing exists in the YA literary world. Like, in order to be admitted into the community, you have to endure horrible things, like having a vampire crawl through your window to watch you sleep at night. I was lucky that my assigned vampire was friendly, and knitted me a hat, scarf, and matching poncho to pass the time while I was unconscious. But not every author is so fortunate.

As I am your latest fangirl, I am eager to know what you have in the works? Will Avery and the gang return again?

I hope they will!! I definitely have plans for them. It all depends on reader demand, though, so if you want my publisher to know you want more Dull Boy, tell your friends about it, ask your library to order it, etc. It's totally your reader/blogger superpower. ;)

Who’s your favorite superhero? Why?

My favorite superhero is Batman (surprise, surprise, right?), but let me tell you about my favorite lesser-known superhero: Wildcat.

Wildcat is a boxer turned crimefighter. He doesn't have any special powers, and honestly, I have no idea why he dresses in a cat costume. BUT: He dresses in a shoddily constructed cat costume! It has whiskers! And he once fought a kangaroo. No, really, look:

He's also trained heroes like Batman and Black Canary to fight. Pretty badass for an old dude wearing a whiskered cat mask.

Last, but not least, is there anything else you wish to share/ask/comment about? 

No, I think that about covers it! Unless you want to tell me who your favorite superhero is. ;) 

Well my favorite superhero would have to be Wonder Woman...don't really know why, but she is!

Thanks so much Sarah for answering my questions and I hope all of you readers enjoyed the interview and review. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Win a Copy of Death by Denim

Well I think the title says it all! This is a great summer read and a great conclusion (although I would love for there to more) to a super cute trilogy. And if you haven't had the chance to read the preceding books, don't fret as it is really not that necessary to read them in any order.

Contest is open to anyone and everyone regardless of where you live. This is an ARC, but it is SIGNED by the author. Just comment for your chance to win. If you want an extra entry, post about the contest and leave the link. All entries must be received by midnight E.S.T on June 7. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In My Mailbox (VI)

Thanks to the wonderful Story Siren and Alea for their creation/inspiration of this fun meme. All descriptions are from Amazon!

This week was tons of fun for me, so here's what I got!

Prophecy of Sisters by Michelle Zink

An ancient prophecy divides two sisters-One good...One evil...Who will prevail?
Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets. Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust. They just know they can't trust each other.

Geektastic edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castelluci
Acclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside)and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you're a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on!

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores. If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam-they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago. Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
Being an heiress in 1920s Austria with nothing but a broken-down castle to your name and nary a penny in your purse could be frustrating for anyone but the Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein. “Tessa,” however, is thrilled with her situation, as it allows her to concentrate on her love of the arts—and no one in the Viennese opera company need know that their delightful and charming under-wardrobe mistress is really a princess. But when the dashing self-made millionaire Guy Farne arrives at the opera in search of suitable entertainment for his high society guests, Tessa realizes that there may be more to life—and love—than just music. But while the attraction between them in undeniable, Guy’s insufferable snob of a fiancée only solidifies Tessa’s determination to keep her true identity a secret. Yet, after a chance meeting with the handsome Englishman, Tessa’s reserve begins to melt, and she starts to wonder if it’s not too late for a fairytale ending…

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter
It’s the end of junior year, and summer is about to begin. The Summer of Passion, to be exact, when Jory Michaels plans to explore all the possibilities of the future--and, with any luck, score a boyfriend in the process. But Jory has a problem. A big problem. A curvy, honking, bumpy, problem in the form of her Super Schnozz, the one thing standing between Jory and happiness. And now, with the Summer of Passion stretched before her like an open road, she's determined for Super Schnozz to disappear. Jory takes a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for a nose job at the end of the summer; she even keeps a book filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. But nothing is ever easy for accident-prone Jory--and before she knows it, her Summer of Passion falls apart faster than the delivery van she crashes. In her hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel, Sydney Salter delivers a story about broadening your horizons, accepting yourself, and finding love right under your nose.

Overall a great week. Now I'm curious to know, what did you get in your mailbox?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pillage by Obert Skye

Fifteen-year-old Beck Phillips’ favorite activity is causing trouble and his latest scheme is setting off an angry hive of bees through the air ducts in is current school. Maybe this inclination for trouble comes from moving around a lot, a non-existent father, or the fact that his mother is very ill.

When his mom dies Beck is uprooted from his life once again and is sent to live with his wealthy, but estranged uncle out in the mountainous country. On the train ride to Kingsplot Beck meets Kate, who can’t even be bothered to give Beck the time of day, even though he thinks that she is the prettiest thing going. Little do they both know that they are going to see much more of each other, even thought its not at the top of Kate’s priority list.

When Beck arrives at his uncle’s mansion, an air of mystery greets him. While the house has seven floors and hundreds of rooms, Beck along with his uncles and a minimal house staff are the only occupants. What’s even stranger is that Beck’s uncle only comes out of his domed room once in a blue moon.

As time progresses Beck learns dark secrets about his lost family. Secrets that include buried basements, forbidden gardens, an ancient book of unusual family history, and most surprising of all…dragons!

Beck’s life has changed forever and there is no turning back now. Along with some newfound friends Beck is about to embark on his biggest scheme yet.

This was an absolutely great book. It takes you on an adventure that is beyond your wildest dreams. From the very first chapter the author’s humor came out and I found myself laughing along with Beck’s schemes. There was also a great suspense factor. This is one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. I eagerly anticipated each turn of events (of which there were many) and was shocked at many things, especially the ending which gave the term plot twist a whole new meaning. The plot was also very interesting. Incorporating dragons into any modern-day book is always very intriguing and the author had a knack for making everything seem real. And even though the book was set in modern day, it felt like it was set long ago. The whole story seemed to have this vintage fairy tale feel to it, which I just devoured. Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to both young and old readers looking for a great read. After reading this book I have definitely fallen in love with the fantasy genre and definitely look forward to more of Obert Skye’s books.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Other Boy by Hailey Abbott

Maddy Sinclaire is your typical rich girl.  She loves to party the night away, has the perfect gorgeous boyfriend, Brian, and she knows that she’s about to have the summer of her life. Her parents are headed up to their newly purchased vineyard up in Napa and they’re trusting Maddy at home in the city by herself for the entire summer. The first night her parents are gone she throws the ultimate summer party, but then she gets an unexpected visit from her parents. Apparently, they forget a few important documents and had to turn around and crashed the party.
Not trusting Maddy anymore they bring her back with them to Napa to spend the entire summer helping fix up the vineyard. Maddy is devastated that she has to spend the summer away from her friends and Brian and then, on top of that, she is going to be imprisoned in the middle of nowhere!
When she gets to Napa, though, she unexpectedly meets David, the extremely cute son of her dad’s business partner and the boy she’s going to work with all summer. Although she hates to admit it, Maddy starts wondering if Brian is really the right guy for her, or if David, who’s nothing like she is, might just be worth her time.
This was definitely the perfect summer read. Light, fun, and romance-filled -- what girl could resist? While it was your classic clichéd story, I thought it was super-cute and wish that I could be as lucky with guys as Maddy!!! I enjoyed seeing Maddy’s character develop from a rich snob to a down-to-earth girl who could appreciate the beauty of nature.
I’m not going to lie, at first I despised Maddy; she was whiny and stuck-up, but as the book progressed she became very likable and relatable. The book was also very funny. The author created a ton of humorous situations where I found myself laughing out loud. For fans of Hailey Abbott’s previous books, THE OTHER BOY will not disappoint!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg

Fashion forward Molly is looking forward to a summer in the Los Angeles sun and working on her application for an amazing internship for the fall. Then her mom gets remarried and Molly’s life is turned upside down. Not only does she have to adjust to this new man, but she’s also just been informed that she has to spend her summer out in Boulder, Colorado with her parents on their honeymoon. What’s even stranger is her family is participating in a house swap, so now someone she doesn’t even know is going to be living in her house, enjoying the summer sun she was wanting.

Mountain-bike loving, nature boy Charlie is looking forward to a summer of exploring new trails and just having fun. Then his two moms spring the house-swap idea on him. At first he is quite upset, but then looks at it as an opportunity to break up with his girlfriend, that he just doesn’t like that much.

Connecting through emails and instant messenger Charlie and Molly get to know each other. Soon their relationship starts to turn into something much more then friends, but can a relationship work out if the two people have never met each other?

This book was a nice surprise. I thought it was really well written and the plot line was completely original. The author did a great job developing the characters, as well as creating great background stories for all of them. For example, the reader knew all about how life was progressing for both Molly and Charlie during their respective summers and how their lives intertwined. What was also so loveable about this book was the fact that it was the perfect, fast love story. While it was love story, it was completely believable. The characters weren’t perfect and their relationship wasn’t cheesy. Charlie was a believable guy. He was extremely cute and had a sweet sensitive personality, but yet he had some major flaws. Molly was your classic shy girl, but yet she was willing to make an effort and she wasn’t critical of herself. It was also really refreshing to read a book where the love was based on personality rather than looks. While the two had seen pictures of each other, they also got to know each other through many a late night conversations and emails, so they really fell in love with the real person instead of the way someone looks. This is a great debut novel from Jordanna Fraiberg and I absolutely cannot wait to read more from her.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber

Aphra Behn Connolly believes she is just an average teenage girl. The fact is though she leads a life that is anything but normal, actually most people would be pretty jealous of her. Her and her dad own and run a luxury resort on a secluded tropical island and Aphra spends her day eavesdropping on the lives of the rich and famous. There is one down side though to living on the island, Aphra is secluded from all the things that teenagers take for granted – friends and hot guys.

Aphra’s luck may have turned around when Seth Mulo and his parents unexpectedly arrive at the resort, bringing a whole cloud of mystery with them. The alarm bell really sounds though when a girl turns up dead on the beach – with the strings of her bikini tied around her neck – the day after the Mulos arrive. Aphra wonders what the family could possibly be hiding, and she is determined to figure it out. What Aphra doesn’t know is she’s about to involve herself in a dark mystery where there’s a lot more information then appears and there are lots of new faces lurking around every corner.

This book was too cute. It had the perfect mix of mystery and romance to satisfy any girl’s desire for a good read. The story was light and funny, yet still had a serious enough plot that it kept the reader interested and entertained. Aphra was a fun, mischievous character that kept the story lively. The romance between Aphra and Seth was also a breath of fresh air, as it didn’t follow the “normal” boy-meets-girl they flirt then fall in love mold! Linda Gerber definitely has created a one-of-a-kind mystery with Aphra as its leading star and I absolutely can’t wait to read more about her adventures! 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In My Mailbox (V)

This super fun meme was started by The Story Siren with inspiration from Alea.

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker (THANK YOU MELISSA!!!)

Yay, summer in Austin!
Good food, good times. Fun for everyone!
Okay, living with my sorority-brainwashed cousin, who willingly goes by "Party Penny," is not exactly what I had in mind.
All your favorite bands
But the cute musicians I've met totally make up for it . . . like Sebastian. Swoon.
All ages welcome
So why can't I stop thinking about Penny's friend All-American Russ and his Texas twang??
Saturday & Sunday, from noon to midnight. Don't wait up!

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender 

Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents' marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude.
When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in. Alexis wants to think that it's all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening--to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she's the only person who can stop Kasey -- but what if that green-eyed girl isn't even Kasey anymore?

Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King 

In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with the dust of one hundred dogs, dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body -- with her memories intact.

Now she's a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica. 

So, what did you get in your mailbox this week?

Friday, May 8, 2009

No Such Thing as the Real World by M. T. Anderson, K. L. Going, Beth Kephart, Chris Lynch, An Na, and Jacqueline Woodson

This is a collection of stories all about the jump that one takes from being a child into the real world. While the line is thin, each has their own unique story about the crossing and these authors share the stories of six different individuals.

One character deals with the loss of a parent, who was special to the entire community, and how to uphold his business, which so many people relied on.

Another has to write her senior thesis, but it becomes more of a necessity than a requirement when her best friend commits suicide.

There is a graduation speech to be given, just after seeing your crush make-out with your sister. Then there is the monologue of two actors, who would normally never have crossed paths, who seem to be married until one forgets. Finally the stories about growing up wouldn’t be complete without a case of teen parenting.

I am quite new to reading anthologies, but I have to say they are quite fun. You get a brief view into another’s world, and while sometimes you wish there was more, more often then not it’s just the right amount. All the stories in this particular anthology were okay, nothing spectacular, and I felt like they still needed some more work, especially since they were so short.

Beth Kephart’s story was by far the best. While all the stories dealt with a tough issue that really defines one’s coming of age, Kephart made her story so much more believable and real. Her writing was absolutely superb and she dealt with the whole issue of suicide in such a way that didn’t make it seem so horrible. She made the main character relatable in the fact that she took out her sadness in writing and didn’t really want to think about what had happened. I definitely think that Kephart was able to fully capture the essence of a short story and leave a lingering thought in the reader’s brain on how they would react to the situation.

Overall the anthology was decent and I recommend it to all of you looking for a good dose of reality. Appropriate for all teenagers and older readers I think this is a good book to help you see the “real world.”

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman

Savannah lives in small coastal Carolina town with her mom and brother Dog. Her father left her family years ago, and Savannah truly believes he took her ability to really breathe with him, as she has had life-threatening asthma since the day he left. Despite that fact she looks forward to reading tons of romance novels and working at her local library over the coming summer months and of course visiting the beach.

Then Savannah meets Jackson – her true love. He seems to be the only person that gives Savannah her breath back and is just so different from any other boy that she has met.  Jackson seems to be perfect, staying by her side at the hospital when she suffers a severe asthma attack, following all of Savannah’s mom’s crazy rules about “courting,” and even sticking up for Savannah when she is put down by the local ruffians.

It seems though that Savannah’s perfect summer is not meant to be, as Jackson is called back home to help his mom and brothers out. Savannah doesn’t know if their relationship will last, and most of all if she will be able to breath without Jackson by her side.

This book was as sweet as a southern accent! The love story was true and there was a reality to the book that made the book come to life. There was humor and heartbreak, along with reality and creativity. With every sentence it felt like the reader was transported from their living room couch to the sandy beaches of the Carolina coast.

The characters that the author created were real and fun as well as relatable.
Savannah’s true accent made me laugh and grin and her personality really shone. At times she got a bit whiny and fake, but overall she was genuine. While I felt that Savannah was three-dimensional and really stepped off the page, none of the other characters, including Jackson really stood out for me. Yes, Jackson was an incredibly sweet boy, but he didn’t seem real or alive.

Another really strong aspect of this book is the struggle that the characters go through. There is both economic hardships as well as emotional and relationship struggles, ranging anywhere from Savannah and Jackson’s relationship to Dog and his best friend’s relationship. This was another fact that helped the reader to relate with the characters.

Finally the plot was really cute, a little clichéd, but cute none-the-less and thoroughly enjoyable. Fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy this sweet Southern novel full of charm and wit by this debut author. I look forward to reading more of Cheryl Renee Herbsman’s future works and I truly believe she has a bright future ahead of her.

On a side note the author is coming to the bookstore right down the street from me at the end of the month, needless to saw I am very excited!!! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Being Nikki/Airhead Giveaway Winners

The lucky reader who gets both a copy of Airhead and Being Nikki is.....


The other five winners of a copy of Airhead are:

Shooting Stars Magazine
Just Blinded Book Reviews

I have emailed all of you, so please respond in 72 hours or I will have to pick a new winner.
Thanks to everybody who entered, I hope you all have a chance to get to read these great books!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Love on Cue by Catherine Hapka

Normally Maggie Tannery is a shy and self-conscious high school girl, but she completely transforms when she is put on stage. When it’s time for auditions for the school’s annual production Maggie is sure to be a shoe in. Better yet, her long time crush Daniel might just be playing the lead along side her, and hopefully not just in the play if Maggie has things her way!

Then the unthinkable happens. A new drama teacher comes into the picture and instead of performing Romeo and Juliet, she’s thinking more along the lines of Cabaret, a musical. Maggie is devastated thinking she has no chance to make even a small role, as she can’t really dance let alone sing. All hope is not lost though as she turns to Nico, one of the school’s most musically talented students, to give her voice lessons. The thing is their voices aren’t the only thing in sync and soon enough Maggie doesn’t know which leading man is right for her.

This is one of those super cute Simon Romantic Comedies that takes absolutely no time to read, but is still quite enjoyable. Yes, the story was very clichéd and yes, there wasn’t much character development, but I couldn’t help but wish that I would be put in Maggie’s position.

While she wasn’t all that developed, I would still say that Maggie was a good character. She was relatable in the fact that she was shy and didn’t have the guts to talk to her crush and she had a hard time choosing which guy was right for her, which are both problems teen girls face.

Catherine Hapka created a sweet little book that is perfect for reading at the beach and is sure to pick you up when you’re feeling a little bit down.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fade by Lisa McMann

Just as one case closes for Janie and Cable, another one opens up immediately. Unfortunately for Janie though, her dream catching seems to be taking more and more from her both mentally and physically every time she gets sucked into another’s dream.
Not only does Janie have to deal with all the stress of her last semester of high school, her relationship with Cable which they have to keep a secret, and then of course the latest case which deals with a sexual predator who is most likely a teacher at Janie’s school.
Janie soon gets herself way in over her head when nothing goes as planned and Cable’s behavior is absolutely shocking. Then Janie soon finds out about what lies in store for her in the future, and it’s not a pretty picture. Will Janie survive these last few months of high school? Will her relationship with Cable survive?
Hands down this is a great series and even after the last page it still left me wanting more. FADE picked up right where WAKE left off not even skipping a beat. McMann kept up her impeccable prose throughout the whole story and wove a very intricate plot.
The plot was extremely interesting and kept me at the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. There was absolutely nothing that was going to make me put the book down! McMann took a really tough topic and made it extremely interesting and real, making it apparent to teenagers how dangerous certain situations can get.
One thing that I did have an issue with was the ending. Now I’m not going to talk about it, but I felt like the book hit its climax and then kind of rambled off, not leaving a definitive ending. I have to say though that  I was really impressed with the last sentence of the book,  leaving the series open to so many possibilities, which I am eager to find out about in GONE coming out February 2010.
As I mentioned before Lisa McMann’s writing is impeccable. While her style takes some getting used to, as everything is in the present tense, it is completely worth it because it makes the book unique and spell binding.  I also love how you get to know all the character’s thoughts and their actions, but at different times - it truly gives the reader a chance to get to know the characters and really connect with the story.
Overall this was a great second book in a ground-breaking series that I can’t wait to read more of. It was a suspenseful, fast-paced read that all readers will enjoy. 

Spring Has Sprung Contest Winners!!!

Congratulations to.......

Jessica Marie!!

I have sent you an email, so please respond in three days or else I will have to pick a new winner!

Thank you to all who participated as this has been my best contest so far.

Don't forget to enter the Airhead giveaway!


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