Monday, April 28, 2008

Read My Lips by Teri Brown

When Serena’s parents make her move to a small town she’s not sure her skater chick self will fit in with all the preps. To top things off she’s deaf and quite a few people, including some teachers, think she’s a freak. Even though life isn’t perfect Serena is pretty content with her life and especially enjoys hanging out with her crush and the school rebel Miller. Surprisingly though Serena makes friends with preppy girl Rachel very quickly. While Rachel is really nice she is also part of a group of super exclusive girls and Serena is sure she won’t fit in. Especially when she meets Sonya who has it out for her the first time their eyes meet. Soon the group of girls who weren’t the most accepting at first find out that Serena has an amazing talent for reading lips. She can pick out anyone’s conversations and can easily pick up gossip. The group knows that Serena’s talent can be used to learn many dirty secrets and make the girls even more popular. With her new found popularity Serena learns the difference between true and fake friends, takes down a secret sorority, and finds the true person she really is.

This was a stunning book. It was a light read, but still had substance and was completely captivating. The storyline was completely original and was very enjoyable. I honestly don’t think that there was anything that I disliked about this book. The characters were three dimensional and I felt like Serena was my best friend. It was also very easy to relate to Serena. While I have no idea what it’s like to be deaf, I do know how it feels trying to fit in and be accepted. What I loved is how Serena was able to stay true to herself and while she deterred a little bit, she always came back to her true self. Then there’s Miller. He sounds like the perfect boyfriend any girl could ever dream of and I am very jealous of his and Serena’s relationship! Like I said before there was nothing I disliked about this book and completely look forward to more books by the fabulous Teri Brown, who I may add is a member of the amazing Class of 2k8.

This book hits shelves on June 3, 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti

Indigo Skye is pretty pleased with her life. She has an amazing boyfriend, she loves being a waitress at the homey neighborhood restaurant Carrera’s, and while her family may not be well off they sure are filled with love. While some situations may not be ideal, Indigo knows she will always be supported by those she loves. Whether it is her direct family or her family over at Carrera’s (also known as the Irregulars) she knows she always has someone to turn to. All is good until a new man starts coming into Carrera’s. Indigo finds him very strange because he only orders coffee and just stares out the window. One day Indigo finds a pack of cigarettes in his pocket and tells him off, as she cannot stand a smoker. She thinks she’s scared him off until she gets a phone call from her boss telling her the mysterious man left her an envelope. Indigo is puzzled as to what lays inside, but is sure that it will be disappointing. The contents are anything but disappointing, actually they are stupendously unbelievable. Enclosed is a check for two and a half million dollars. Indigo is thrilled, but doesn’t know much about having money. She is constantly warned that money changes people, but she doesn’t think it could ever happen to her.

This was a completely brilliant and amazing book. I fell in love with it from the very first sentence. Not only was the storyline amazing, but all the characters, not just Indigo, had great personalities. Even the characters that you only met once or twice felt so real and I could automatically tell whether I liked them or not. Indigo was definitely my favorite character though. She was extremely sarcastic and witty. There were many, many times that I found myself laughing out loud at comments that Indigo would make or even her actions. What was also so wonderful about the story was its originality. It wasn’t your generic rags-to-riches everyone’s rich and happy in the end story. It was so much more. While Indigo did receive lots of money she learned more how to deal with it and become a better person. I felt that Indigo really underwent a change from the beginning of the book to the end, which was really neat. Deb Caletti’s writing was fresh and amazing. Having never read anything of hers before, but having heard good things, I expected a good read, maybe even a great read. Instead I got a stupendous, heartwarming, and hard to forget novel. I will definitely be reading many more of her books. I would highly recommend this book to everyone as it truly was unforgettable. Also I definitely think that Sarah Dessen fans will love Indigo’s story as well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

If only Naomi hadn’t picked heads. Her life would have been so different. She wouldn’t have fallen down the steps and woken up with amnesia, she wouldn’t have met James, and most importantly she wouldn’t be questioning herself. When Naomi wakes up from her fall she finds herself in a hospital bed not remembering anything past 12 years old. This means she doesn’t remember her parents divorce, her tennis star boyfriend, and why her best friend Will calls her “Chief.” With the help of her dad and Will Naomi slowly starts to piece her life back together. The only thing is she’s still not sure who she used to be and really isn’t sure if she still wants to be that person. Naomi even begins to question what she ever saw in Ace and wonders why she can’t get James out of her mind. As the weeks go by Naomi finds it difficult at times, especially dealing with rude kids in school, but over time she starts to build her life back up, even if it’s not the same as it used to be. But she always wonders if she will ever remember again.

This was a breathtaking and emotional book. It was stupendous to say the least. I loved the story line and thought it was completely original. I loved how Naomi got to reinvent herself. I mean who wouldn’t want to make themselves the real person that they were meant to be? Not only was the story good, but Gabrielle Zevin’s writing style was phenomenal. She created three dimensional characters who you wished were your best friends. They dealt with real issues and felt real love. Also there was a deep level of emotion written into the pages. The last chapter of the book made me so sad, but not sad sad, almost like a happy sad. This was the first time a book had made me feel this way and I really liked how the author was able to provoke feeling with just her words. This was an all around great book that I think is a must read for any teenager. It provides realism with a bit of humor and just really couldn’t get much better!

Monday, April 21, 2008

13 by Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish

In three months Evan will be 13. He is already planning his Bar Mitzvah when he learns his mom and dad are splitting up and he’s moving to middle of nowhere Appleton, Indiana. On top of leaving NYC and his friends, Evan now has to plan his Bar Mitzvah in Indiana. He knows no one will show up and is horrified to know that it will take place in the basement of the Methodist Church. Even though Evan expects his life to be miserable he soon befriends Patrice, a pretty girl who loves old movies and is a little bit of a geek. Evan never has a problem with her until he becomes friends with Bret. Bret is an all American boy. He’s the junior high’s quarterback and is loved by all the girls and parents, for that matter. As Evan becomes more involved with Brett and his gang of friends he starts to lose sight of how friends are supposed to treat each other. As the weeks go by Evan gets tangled up with planning his “becoming a man” speech, more drama than he can handle, and a particularly weird situation which includes the movie The Bloodmaster. Evan soon learns that being a man isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and ends up learning more about himself then he ever thought possible.

I was quite pleased with this book. I don’t always enjoy middle grade fiction because I find it hard to relate to, but I can vividly remember being 13. The author made an unforgettable character out of Evan that made me laugh out loud and reminisce about days when I was his age. I remember going through similar situations as Evan did and handling them just about as well as Evan did! This book also made me laugh. Just the style of writing and the words that came out of the character’s mouths were funny. While middle grade novels may not be your first choice, I highly suggest you pick this one up and laugh along with the story. This book would also be good for reluctant readers. It’s not particularly long, yet it is long enough to be a wholesome story. The message of self discovery and being your own kind of person is also a great part of this book. 13 was an enjoyable read that will keep readers wanting more.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury

Win and Chris have been best friends since the third grade. Now they are graduating high school and are planning the ultimate graduation getaway. They’re going to bike from their home in West Virginia to Seattle, Washington, almost a coast-to-coast trek. The ride is filled with many different adventures, both physical and emotional. From being chased by a coyote to crashing many different events just to get free food - the fun never seems to end for this dynamic duo. That is until one day Win leaves Chris in the dust. As he rides away all Win manages to say is “good bye.”

Chris returns home by himself ready to start school. He’s still mad at Win for ditching him and hasn’t heard from him since that day. Only days after Chris starts school he gets a visit from an FBI agent. As it turns out Win never made it home and was carrying $20,000 with him. Chris is looking quite suspicious, but he knows no more about Win then anyone else. As Chris’ world shifts he learns more about himself than anyone could have taught him.

Readers will find themselves truly inspired after reading Shift. It is an eloquently written self-discovery book that will totally engross the reader. One really unique quality of this book is how one chapter describes what is currently happening in Chris’ life and the next chapter relapses to the bike trip that he and Win took. This novel is filled with outstanding characters, heartbreak, and mystery. Although it is not a classic whodunit mystery, readers will continue to question what happened to Win and Win and Chris’ friendship until the last page is turned. Jennifer Bradbury created a stunning debut novel that makes the reader really cherish the friendships they have and encourages them to take any given opportunity. I highly recommend this book to all readers regardless of age, gender, or genre preference. I think everyone will be able to pull something out of this novel. I whole-heartedly loved this book and look forward to more books from the author!
Shift will be released on May 20,2008

On a side note I think it is completely cool that Jennifer actually biked cross-country!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

Phoebe is a cross-country star. If she can just keep her grades up and keep up her awesome winning streak, she has a guaranteed scholarship to USC. In fact her two best friends, Nola and Cesca, are planning on going there too. Everything is great for Phoebe until her mom returns from a family reunion with a fiancĂ©, Damian. Phoebe can’t believe that after four years of mourning the death of her father, her mom is engaged to a man she has known for less than a week. Phoebe doesn’t think her life could get any worse, but then her mother announces that they’re moving to Greece because of Damian’s job. Much to her discontent, Phoebe packs a meager three boxes and heads halfway across the world to a new life. This new life includes a new school located on a secret island and a school where the students are anything but normal-they’re descendants of the Greek gods! Phoebe seems to be in over her head, but with the aid of some new friends and a gorgeous model-worthy guy, Phoebe learns that she can fit in just about anywhere - even if her new step-sister is a descendant of Hades.

First, I must say that I love Greek mythology and had really high expectations for this book. Wow! This book surpassed all expectations and was just great. The story line was completely original and I loved all of the references to the Greek gods. It was really neat how the author made all the characters have the traits of the gods and goddesses, but also be your everyday teenager. Phoebe’s character was also great. She was funny, sweet and very likeable. Many times throughout the story I found myself cheering her on against all the obstacles that she encountered. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It has every element you might be looking for in a book, romance, suspense, and an amazing storyline. All in all this was a great book that took high school life and mixed it with a little bit of mythology. I very much look forward to what Tera Lynn Childs has in store for us next!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Scavenger Hunt.....

This past weekend I found out that I got into the North Carolina School of Science and Math. This is huge for me as it has been a dream of mine to attend for many years. Needless to say I feel like celebrating in a major way! What better way to celebrate than hold a contest. Except I didn’t want any normal kind of contest, I wanted to do a completely new and fun contest. So since I have been loving all things Nancy Drew, after seeing the very cute movie, I decided to have a scavenger hunt.

Now onto all things about this awesome scavenger hunt. First of all there are THREE books to be won. All of come from my own stash, but they are in good condition. I have compiled three clues as to what the books are, but you’ll have to figure them out. All of the books have been reviewed on my blog. For some of the clues you may have to go to author’s blogs or other websites, nothing too out there though! So here are the rules:

1. Decipher the clues and then send me an email,, with Scavenger Hunt in the subject line, or comment (do you really want to give away free answers?), with as many of the three titles that you can figure out.

2. You get one entry just for trying, so if you are completely stumped just email me with a fun email and I’ll give you one entry! For each title you get correct you get an additional entry. And of course, for you fellow bloggers, you get two additional entries for advertising my contest on your blog - just make sure to include your link. That comes to a grand total of SIX possible entries!!! I will email you back with the total number of entries you received.

3. All entries must be in by May 1 at midnight E.S.T.

4. This contest is open to everyone in the U.S. and Canada, sorry but shipping is starting to get outrageous.

Now for the moment you have all be waiting for….the clues!

1. In this book one of the main characters has the same name as a sticky sweetener. This book is also currently featured at one of my favorite bookish websites.

2. This book’s author won two pounds of coffee a month for a year just for publishing a poem of hers, and to think she didn’t think she was very good. As for the book, well shouldn’t we all make a “bestie” out of a “worstie” situation?

3. Can you decipher the title of this book from this tricky anagram?
*I’ll give you a hint, I reviewed it in March and it has three words in it.

Also if everyone wouldn’t mind, comment or email me and tell me what you think about this contest. Is it completely off the wall or do you enjoy something different? Please let me know your feelings.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante

Agnes and Honey have been best friends since they were born. They both live, along with 260 others, in a religious commune called Mount Blessings. Here they abide by severe rules and try to live the most perfect life possible, except there are some horrendous not so perfect secrets that are kept. As Honey and Agnes get older their personalities drift apart, until they are complete opposites of each other. Agnes wants nothing more than to be a saint, while Honey wants to leave the commune and never look back. When Agnes’ grandma, Nana Pete, comes for an unexpected visit she is horrified to learn one of the most horrendous secrets about the commune and immediately takes Agnes, Honey, and Agnes’ brother Benny out of Mount Blessings. Honey is overjoyed to finally be out of the grasps of the commune and is thoroughly enjoying Big Macs, driving a car, and shopping at everyone’s favorite Wal-Mart. Agnes on the other hand is scared to death and feels like it’s a sin just to be outside of the commune. She can’t find any joy in buying ribbons for her hair or buying scented shampoo and knows she must find a way back to Mount Blessings. When a secret is finally unearthed both girls learn that they need to dig deep inside themselves to find the courage to survive and make the right decisions.

This is a stunning, incredible, and heartfelt novel. I instantly fell in love with the book when I saw the cover and then was completely shocked with the actual story. It was completely amazing. Agnes and Honey were deep characters that I was really able to connect with. The book also had a completely different level of emotion in it that I hadn’t really experienced before. I could really tell that the author was writing from her heart and that made me enjoy the story even more. The author addressed so many different points in this novel such as friendship, family, and the ability to ask for help. I also loved the setting of the book. I’d never really even heard about religious communes before reading this book and realized that I like being able to live my life the way I want and not have to be always bound by rules. Some points that Cecilia Galante made about religion also really spoke to me. I found it really ironic that I read two books that had so much to do with religion back-to-back (Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult) and found that a few points showed up in both books. What surprised me the most though is that this is the author’s first novel. The writing was so eloquent and put together that I was stunned. I can’t wait to see what Cecilia Galante has coming our way next, in fact her next book, Hershey Herself, comes out in May.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

June Nealon leads a happy life. She’s married to a man who loves her and her daughter and she even has another daughter on the way. Little does she know the day she invites the handy-man going door-to-door looking for work will be the day her life changes. The handy-man’s name is Shay Bourne. Days before the project is complete he is found with a gun in his hand surrounded by the bodies of Kurt and Elizabeth Nealon, June’s family. This is the most heinous crime that the state of New Hampshire has ever seen and the jurors, even the young college student originally against the death penalty, sentence Shay to death.

Now eleven years later June is still recovering from her loss, but luckily still has Claire - the baby who kept her living while all she felt like doing was dying. The thing is Claire is now dying. She needs a heart replacement, but one doesn’t come across a heart for a child’s body everyday. Then there is Shay who still hasn’t been executed, although his execution date is drawing nearer everyday.

Shay knows he’s going to die and is surprisingly okay with it. The only thing he wants when he dies is for his organs to be donated. He especially wants to donate his heart to one girl in particular, Claire Nealon. The only catch is that because lethal injection is used to kill him he won’t be able to donate any of his organs. Then Father Michael enters Shay’s life and finds ways, including an amazing lawyer, to help Shay make his last dying wish come true.

Wow was this ever a thought provoking book! It was quite remarkable. This is the first Jodi Picoult book that I’ve read, but I can definitely tell you it won’t be the last. First of all, the story it self was wonderful. There were so many twists and turns that I was never able to figure out quite what was going to happen next. By the end of the book all these pieces came together, like a puzzle, that made everything you ever questioned in the book make sense. The characters were so real and I felt like I really knew them. I also felt as if I was actually sitting in the courtroom where Shay’s trial was taking place, or walking the corridors of the hospital with June. I love when a book makes you feel like that. Jodi Picoult style of writing was also really impressive. She told the story through different character’s perspectives which I really thought was beneficial. This way the reader was able to really comprehend the situation as well as learn how it was affecting each character. This really helped to develop the character and made the book that much more enjoyable. Then comes my favorite part of the whole book, the questions it raises. Not only were the characters questioning some of the points that were made, but I was too. Issues about religion and the death penalty, which can be so controversial, were expressed through this novel in such clarity that my mind was racing during the whole book. This was a fabulous book that I highly recommend. Even if you’ve never picked up a Jodi Picoult book you should definitely try it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

There is nothing perfect about Kate's life. Her dad just quit his job to sell crappy, infomercial Perfect You vitamins, she has to work-for no pay- at the hideous vitamin stand, and her best friend has become popular and doesn't even give Kate the time of day. If things couldn't get any worse they do. Her family is quickly falling into debt and then her pot-stirring grandmother has moved in with her family and is anxious to bash Kate's father at any opportunity that she gets. Then there's Will. He has a reputation of being a player, but when him and Kate start having secret make-out sessions behind the mall she hopes that maybe they're something different, after all Will is the only one who doesn't joke her about her dad's job. Even though Kate loves making out with Will, she doesn't want to like him. She's afraid that she'll just be another check on his never ending list of girls. What's a girl like Kate to do?

This was an amazing book. Kate's voice was so honest and heartfelt that I instantly got drawn into the book. I loved how the issues Kate faced were the issues normal teens face. There wasn't any of the fake drama that I sometimes find in teen books, which was completely refreshing. Kate was also hilarious. Her sarcastic remarks, especially the ones directed at Will, had me laughing extremely hard. Will was also a great character. He sounded so completely crush-worthy and honest, that I had a hard time not wishing he were real. Not only were the characters great and easy to relate to, but Elizabeth Scott's writing style was awesome. There was something about the way the words flowed on the page that really jumped out at me. While reading Perfect You I felt like I was so connected to the story that I never wanted it to end. I haven't read any of Elizabeth's other books, but I can certainly tell you I will be now! All in all this was a fantastic book that I highly recommend to any teen regardless of reading level or interests to pick up and read. It will give you a look into the real eyes of a teenager and know that you aren't alone in the problems you face.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Cammie Morgan returns from winter break to a debriefing at the super secret CIA headquarters in D.C. While her whole surrounding amazes her she can't help but to be nervous as it dredges up all the old memories of Josh. On her way home from her debriefing Cammie finds that her mom is acting very weird, but when she asks her about it she simply says nothing. When Cammie finally arrives back at Gallagher Academy she is overjoyed to be reconnected with her friends and even schoolwork, except she senses that something isn't quite the same. Her suspicion is soon confirmed when it is announced that the boys of Blackthorne Academy will be spending the semester at Gallagher Academy. Having never really been exposed to boys all the girls are shocked and don't really know quite how to handle the situation. While most girls are head over heels excited about the boys' visit, Cammie and her friends are a little skeptical. Even though she's a little hesitant Cammie can't help falling into a hard to read relationship with Blackthorne cutie Zach. Will Cammie figure out her relationship with Zach? Are the Blackthorne boys at Gallagher for a good reason, or are they up to no good?

I was really excited about reading this book as I really, really liked the first one, I'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You. I liked this book almost as much as the first one. The story was still great and the book was jam packed with lots of adventure, but I found Cammie wallowed a little too much in this book. Other then that though the book was great. I loved all of the spy adventure that was going on and especially loved the girl power! I think this series is almost like a girl version of Alex Rider, except Cammie's not as adventurous, yet! I also really liked how Cammie grew as a person in this book. She started off a little shaky, but then resolved all her trust problems and returned to the good old Cammie we knew in the first book. As always with these kind of books though the ever so talented Ally Carter left us hanging on a thread as to what was going to happen next! All the information regarding the next book in the series, including the title, is highly top secret, but I do know that it is in the works and I cannot wait.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab

Matisse Osgood is a full fledged city girl. She loves everything that the city has to offer and can't even imagine what life would be like without the the bustle of New York City and all the art galleries. When Matisse's father is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and just can't handle the city anymore her family moves out to Prague, New York. Prague is the complete opposite of city life. Matisse is awoken by a rooster every morning and the main event of the season is a hayride. Obviously Matisse is devastated and feels that she'll never fit in and even worse people will find out about her dad. Then she meets Violet. Violet doesn't have many friends because she's different than most kids in Prague, but her and Matisse mesh perfectly. Then there's Hal, Matisse's hick neighbor. He is always so nice to Matisse even when she's mean to him and even though Matisse can't stand him at first he ends up being pretty decent. As her life at school improves, her life at home is disintegrating. Her dad's becoming more depressed and her mom is pretending like nothing is even wrong. As for Matisse she doesn't even know how to act around her dad anymore and just sits back and remembers what life was like before the accident. When untrue rumors start flying around the school about her dad Matisse is devastated, but the friends she's made in Prague help her through it and don't throw her the pity party she was expecting. Actually they open her eyes to what she's missing out on. With the help of her friends will Matisse be able to actually begin to like life as a country girl? Will she be able to start looking at her dad in a different way and at least try to have a normal relationship with him once again?

This was a great book. I could completely relate to Matisse. I remember vividly moving from a city to the middle of no where, knowing that the schools would be different and I would have a hard time making friends. For me this made the book extra special, but even if you don't have an experience like Matisse's you will still enjoy the book. Matisse's story takes you on an emotional roller coaster, which honestly hasn't happened to me a lot. I loved how I was cheering on Matisse one minute and feeling sad for her the next. While the book was a quick read it was extremely well written and jam packed with action and feeling. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an amazing read where you will laugh, cry, and smile along with each page you turn. I also cannot wait to see what Daphne Grab has coming for us next as I know it will be just as great as Alive and Well in Prague, New York. I suggest you all pre-order the book now as it comes out May 20. You will want to read it over and over again.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

House of Dance by Beth Kephart

Rosie isn't having the greatest summer and the worst thing is it just started. First of all her and her mom don't have the greatest relationship, all her friends are away and the worst thing is her grandpa is dying of cancer. Wanting to spend as much time as possible with him Rosie goes to his house, which is just across town, everyday. During the days with her grandpa not only does she talk with him, but she helps him clean out his cluttered house. As she is going through old things she starts to learn more about the life her grandpa, and for that fact her dead grandma, lived. On her way home one night Rosie hears music wafting through the air. As she looks up she sees magnificent dancers through the large windows. Now every time Rosie passes by The House of Dance she looks up to see the light steps of the dancers. One day Rosie plucks up the courage to go see for herself what the House of Dance is like and takes them up on their offer of one free lesson. Rosie falls in love with ballroom dancing and decides to keep it up. Through dance Rosie learns more about her grandpa's life and decides to give him the best gift she can.

The way I felt after reading this book is really hard to describe with words, it was just that amazing and fantabulous! Everything about it was just awesome. First I must start with the writing style. It was what I loved most about the book. Beth Kephart's words flowed so well together and they almost seemed to be lyrical. Also the description was great. I felt like I was walking right alongside Rosie, looking into the shop windows and smelling the breads at the bakery. Then the story itself was great. I loved how Rosie really came to find herself and learn to deal with difficult situations. I also loved Rosie's emotions in the book. They were really raw and heartfelt and made me just fall in love with Rosie herself. I highly recommend this book to everyone and I guarantee you will fall in love with it. One last thing that is barely book related but I want to talk about - the bookcover - Don't you think it is so cute? It represents the book perfectly in my opinion and just makes the whole book sparkle!
This book comes out May 27*


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