Monday, June 28, 2010

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country (

This book is AMAZING! It had me laughing out loud more than a few times. It is funny, interesting and real. I could not put it down. Do you ever read a book that is so good that you are pained when you have to set it down? This is one of those. From page one I was sucked into Melinda's world.

The writing is fantastic. I love the characters. The whole story is down-to-earth, so real. I felt like I had joined Melinda's high school when I was reading it. I really like how the story unfolds in an unconventional way.

I want to read more of Anderson's work...right now!!

Definitely check out this book! You will not be disappointed.

Overall: 5/5

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Since the dawn of time, the Faerie have taken. . . .

Seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow always thought faeries were just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery. He's a changeling—a mortal taken as an infant and raised among Faerie—and within short order he's turned Kelley's heart inside out and her life upside down.

For Kelley's beloved Central Park isn't just a park—it's a gateway between her ordinary city and the Faerie's dangerous, bewitching Otherworld. Now Kelley's eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her, but to the heritage that awaits her . . . a destiny both wondrous and strange (

First off, I want to say that the title of this book rocks and I really like the cover. I enjoyed reading this book but it wasn't earth-shattering (it wasn't the page-turner I thought it might be). I did like how it is a little different than what I have been reading. What I really liked about it is the main character, Kelley, is a struggling actress. The author is an actress too, so maybe that's where the inspiration came from. I also really like the Shakespeare theme. There are a few series that have the Shakespeare theme and I do like it.

One other thing that I really liked was the frequent use of the word "cacophony". I think I counted its use at least three times and I hardly hear that word very often.

What I didn't like about it was some parts of the story were a little lame. For instance, when Kelley finds out that she's a faerie (which would be super freaky in my opinion!) she has hardly the reaction I would think. She's just kind of okay with it. Then, when she calls her aunt, who stole her out of the faerie land, her aunt just kind of acts like, "yeah you caught me, no biggie". When Kelley started getting exposed to the faerie world, I would also expect her to ask more questions but she just kind of expects it. It felt a little off to me.

I thought some character development was a little lacking too. I would have liked to know more about the characters. I felt this aspect was a little grazed over.

This was a debut novel for the author and there is more to come because this is number one in Livingston's series. I am excited to read the next book, Darklight. I want to see if some of the things that I didn't like about the book improve.

All-in-all this was an enjoyable read and I hope the rest of the series is fun to read too.

Overall: 3/5

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

The undead can really screw up your senior year . . .

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction (

When I read the title of this book I thought, "Hmm, that doesn't sound very good". But, I read good reviews on it so I thought I would check it out. It was really good! The story line was a little predictable at times, but at other times I had no idea what was going to happen. It was very well written and I liked the plot and ending. It's nice to read about a main character who is a size 10.

One of the best aspects of the book was Lucius's take on America. Every few chapters Lucius writes a letter to his uncle for the reader to read. He is from Romania and it's really funny when he writes to his uncle about the things that he finds annoying or strange about American culture. There were some very hilarious things that I won't give away but one of my favorite topics was his dislike of the vegan lifestyle (he is a vampire after all).

I really liked the times that Jessica would stick up for herself. At the beginning of the book, we find out that Jessica is 17 years old. But, to me she seemed so young. I didn't really like her character at times but I enjoyed reading about her the more the book went on. I the middle of the book she begins to pine for Lucius even though he's dating some one else, and I was thinking, "Come on. Get over it." I know that she had strong feelings for him but to watch her put herself out there, time after time and get rejected? It was sad.

The ending was really good. I wonder if Jake and Mindy get together in the end? Great story. I loved reading it.

Overall: 4/5

Friday, June 4, 2010

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face?

It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path (

I put this one on hold at the library, I went out of town, it came in for me, the hold expired, I had to put another hold on it and finaly, I picked it up a few days ago from the library. Wow. I just finished it book and it was so awesome! Totally worth the wait. It was really thought provoking and touching. I found so much truth in it.

Where to start? At the beginning of the book, before I knew anything about the author, or what the book was even about, I thought the MC was Chinese based on things that were written. But, in fact she is a blond Caucasian, so it was really hard for me to get mental images going. I kind of thrive on mental images when I read. But, I read on.

When Jacob's character was introduced, I had a hard time getting into the book again. The MC obviously liked Jacob, but I didn't. He was wearing black lipstick and eyeshadow? And black finger nails? Eww. As the book went on though, I really started to like him. After I got over those initial humps, I didn't want to put the book down!

There was so much going on in this book. The conflicts between Terra's parents, the brothers, the birthmark, Jacob and his mom. The plot was great. I kept waiting for Terra to stick up for herself and to just BE herself but I needed to remember how I was when I was that age and she was more bold than I ever was. One thing that bothered me was her relationship with Eric.

The ending was pretty dang good. There was only one thing lacking, I wanted to know more about what happened to her family. I felt like things were mostly left hanging with her brothers and her parents. I mean, there was enough to where you kind of get the gist but I have to imagine the rest. I guess I will have to break out my imagination! Haven't used it in a while.

Oh--and I am going geocaching...tomorrow!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, this good girl is tempted to peek inside, because the contents just might be key to winning a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his
life. As things heat up in the lab though, Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and will compel her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad. (

I thought this book was a really fun read! It was very twisty and turny (not an actual word but go with it?) and it made it exciting to read. I really did not know what to expect most of the time. I related so well with Jill Jekel (the beginning Jill) that it was a little painful to read. I don't want to remember how I was freshman year of high school, when I still cared what people thought! Jill's behavior was sad because it's true for a lot of people.

The whole plot was unique to me. I usually don't like when a book flips from one character's perspective to another character's perspective (in this case the chapters would randomly alternate between Tristan and Jill) but I found it great in this book. I liked watching both Tristen and Jill's character develop throughout the book. I thought the writing was really good and I can't wait to read more by Fantaskey. The ending wasn't stellar but I still liked it. This book didn't turn out like I expected, but in a good way. Can't beat that.

Overall: 4/5