Saturday, January 22, 2011

REVIEW: Fallout

Fallout is the newest book by Ellen Hopkins and is the third in the series of  books that started with Crank.  This particular novel follows the children of the first novels main character; Kristina.  Well, three of them anyway, the three oldest kids, all from different fathers. Hunter, who is in college and never met his father and though he professes to be completely in love with his girlfriend, has made a habit of cheating on her. Summer, who when shes not being bounced around from foster home to foster home spends time with her drunk of a father and whoever is his latest girlfriend. Lastly, there is Autumn who lives with her fathers dad and sister, he himself is currently in jail though she doesn't know very much about him as her aunt and grandpa don't speak of him much.  They say he used to be a good guy, but ever since he met her mother he has been going downhill since. 

Told in her now expected poem like style it is really hard to follow at first.  The connection between the three of them is not explained outright and not until a few sections in did I realize what tied them all together. It is also pretty predictable where the stories going to go early on.  The story was okay not one of my favorites and certainly not a must read, but definitely not a horrible read either.

3/5

Thursday, January 6, 2011

REVIEW: Willow

WillowBy Julia Hoban
April 2009
Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0803733569
ISBN-13: 9780803733565



Most teenagers when it comes to things they have to worry about the most common answer would probably if and what college they are going to after graduation. This, however is not the case for the main character in Julia Hoban’s novel Willow.

Nine months previous to when this books begins Willow is in a terrible accident where both her mother and father are killed and she is badly injured.  If that is not bad enough, Willow feels terrible guilt because it was her who was driving the car when it crashed.  Her parents, having wanted to have a little extra to drink at dinner out asked Willow if she would mind being the one to drive home.  The weather was very bad, torrential rain which turned the roads slick and caused her to veer off the road into a tree.

Since then Willow has moved in with her brother and his wife and daughter living in a converted half bedroom in there tiny home. She copes with her pain and anger at herself in one of the worst ways possible, by cutting. In order not to feel the full weight of what she feels; she thinks this is the only way to survive. 

That is until she meets Guy a charismatic sort of emo guy at the local college library where she works part time.  He stumbles upon her secret and takes it upon himself to do what he can to help her.  She strongly dislikes him at first though she finds him attractive but slowly thaws letting him in more then she ever thought she’d let anyone after the accident.

This is a great book!  You can tell that the author did a lot of research into the world of self mutilation and talks about it in a very frank and accessible way.  This book, however because of the subject matter is best suited for 11th grade and up because at times the descriptions are very graphic. All in all definitely an author I would like to read more from!

4 out of 5

REVIEW: Promises to Keep

Promises to Keep: A NovelBy Jane Green
June 2010
Viking Press
ISBN-10: 0670021792
ISBN-13: 9780670021796


For a few novels now Jane Green has shied away from the story lines that had made her famous.  No longer do we see the hip young working girls trying to balance family, finding love, and a career. Sure, bits and pieces of those elements can be but she seems to gone a more adult contemporary route rather then chick lit.

What’s it about? . . .

Promises to Keep (Jane’s 12th novel) is about to sisters Callie and Steffi who (surprise surprise) are polar opposites. Callie is the older more put together sibling of the two.  She is happily married with two children and a thriving photography business that she does from home. Steffi, is the free spirit who has recently become a bit more responsible and is quickly becoming the chef de cuisine at a vegan hot spot in NYC.  Soon after we meet Steffi one of her regular patrons offers her rent free his house is a rural Connecticut town in exchange for house and dog sitting. Since she recently broke up with her latest boyfriend she is itching to get out of her familiar surroundings and try something new, she accepts the offer.

Another plus to accepting the job is that she can be closer to her sister who is a short drive away from where she will be staying! This is and extra special plus considering that four years previous her sister, though now in remission was diagnosed with breast cancer, which has taught the entire family the preciousness of life.

What I think.  .  .  .

I wasn’t really able to get into her last couple of novels like Dune Road because of the change in style, but this novel I enjoyed.  I had an authenticity to it that many can relate to and not just because it has to do with cancer.  It is a story that I believe just about anybody can relate to that will keep you turning the pages till the very end.

4 out of 5
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Review: Perfect Chemistry

Perfect ChemistryBy Simone Elkeles
 December 2008
Walker & Co.
ISBN-10: 0802798225
ISBN-13: 9780802798220
 
 
 
 
What it’s about…

Alex and Brittany in terms of how they live their lives and their backgrounds, are polar opposites.  Brittany lives in the affluent part of town, she wears the big names in terms of clothing and is part of the popular clique. Plus, her boyfriend is the star football player of their schools team. All that perfection is only a façade, however, her biggest issue that she hides from others is the fact that she has an older sister with physical and mental disabilities and is constantly fighting with her parents about what is best for her.

Alex’s life is not easy by any means either.  He is a gang member by necessity in order to protect his family as best he can from the violence in the area they live.  Recently the stakes have gotten much higher and he is asked by one of the higher – ups to help with a drug smuggling operation.

Alex and Brittany have known each other for ages in a casual way for many years, but it is not until they are made lab partners by their tyrannical chemistry teacher that they actually interact.. To say they didn’t  get along at first is an understatement…..

What I think……

Perfect Chemistry it seems to me like a present day Romeo and Juliet .  Unlike Romeo and Juliet, however, the words used are a lot less complicated! I enjoyed this book a lot! it teaches some life lessons without being preachy and the amount of violence is not overly exaggerated and definitely authentic.

4/5

Review: Arm Candy

By Jill Kargman
May 2010
E.P Dutton
ISBN-10:  0525951598
ISBN-13: 9780525951599


What’s it about……

The book is set around a woman named Eden.  The novel starts with he moving from her small home town to the bright lights of the city of New York.  She starts out as a sales associate at a Tower Records close to her apartment.  While working there one day she meets an aspiring musician,  but their romance quickly fizzles, due to the fact that as he starts getting more exposure by the local media. Which in turn it means he has less time for Eden. 

She then moves on to Wes who she meets in a little café near the iconic Bowery Bar.  The romance is seemingly perfect but Eden has a large if not a little cocky self awareness.  Though she loves Wes dearly she still feels like there is something missing in her life.  She is given the opportunity to capitalize on her looks to achieve her dream of riches and fame though  the painter Otto Clyde who can’t take his eyes off of her.  At one point asks her if she would pose for him, which meant the beginning of the end for poor Wes.

After their breakup the novel fast forwards to 20 years later.  Eden is still with Otto, though not married and they have a son named Cole who just recently went off to college.  Her sons departure has forced her to realize the decisions she made all those years ago may not have been good ones. With no child to take care of anymore Eden begins to notice things that she purposefully pushed out of her mind. The biggest issues is Otto’s wandering eye.  She catches Otto and his latest painting model in bed and decides right then and there enough is enough.

What I think…..

I found this book to be good, not exactly a best seller, but a great effort. It was engrossing enough to keep me reading .  The only thing I have a problem with was some of her language choices like played out phrases.  I really think many of them should have been omitted because they really tarnish what could have been an even better story.  It reminds me of how sometimes my mother would say stuff like “what do you think of my bling?”  Its kind of funny in a aww look how hard she’s trying to be cool, but mostly its just annoying.
 
5/5

Review: After

After 
By Amy Efaw
Viking Juvenile
August 2009
ISBN-10: 0670011835
ISBN-13 9780670011834





What it’s about…..

Devon Davenport at first glance seems like your typical overachieving high school student. She gets great grades and is the star player of her schools varsity soccer team. Imagine everyone’s surprise, however, when Devon turns up on the news because of a deep dark secret.  A jogger found something she had tried to get rid of, but failed to do so…a baby.

We follow Devon from the moment the police realize she is the culprit to her court hearing which is done to decide whether she should be tried for attempted murder as and adult. (she’s 15)  For most of it she is dazed and confused, having put herself in a trance like state after the baby was born. She is asked by many people, doctors and police included why she did what she did, but mentally she is so far gone from denial that she literally does not remember committing  the crime.

What I think….

Obviously this is a very touchy subject.  The author could have easily been able to slant the story in which ever direction she felt like.  She did not do that, however, and was able to write the novel in such a way that the reader has all the information needed to have a verdict all their own.  The story is thought provoking and fluid in terms of it’s timeline and all in all I think it is a great book.  I would suggest though it be read by older teenagers as some of the descriptions are quite graphic.  All in  a definite must read!

5/5

REViIEW: Life as I know it


Life as I Know It: A NovelBy: Melanie Rose

What it’s about….

Right away we meet Jessica Taylor the main character and a bit of a homebody with a job as a paralegal and a dog named Frankie.  Almost everyday she walks Frankie in an area called the downs.  On one of theses many trips, however, tragedy strikes when  she is hit by lightning during a freak thunderstorm.  Next thing she knows she’s in the hospital and for some reason everybody is calling her Lauren.
It turns out that somehow Jessica and this other woman named Lauren got struck by lightning at the exact same time. Laurens soul went to heaven and Jessica’s got sent to her body. From then on she goes through the day twice, once as Jessica and then again as Lauren.


What I think…
I enjoyed this book a lot more then I thought I would. After reading the inside cover I thought it was going to be a story similar to Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.  It was only vaguely like that, however, and turned out to be one of the better novels I have read this year.  Even though from the synopsis it seems like a very complicated story, it was well put together and explained by the author.  She could have really screwed up the story if she had not told it right/  At some points it is sad but I definite read!

4/5

REVIEW: North of Beautiful

By Justina Chen Headley
Feb 2009
 Little Brown and Company
 ISBN-10: 0316025054
  ISBN-13: 9780316025058




What it’s about…..

Terra is the daughter of a cartographer and homemaker and youngest of three kids.  She and her brothers are named after map names or terms, as is the case with her.  What further distinguishes her from the rest is something called a port wine stain, a dark red birthmark that has spread over time and at present takes up most of one of her cheeks. She tries to hide it as best she can whether it be with her hair or loads of makeup.  Over the years she been to various doctors and conferences about it, but still it remains.
            Her father is another source of pain and stress in her life/  He is VERY critical of everyone stemming from some map related failure many years ago.  She, being the baby of the family, still has to deal with it on a daily basis. She spends most of her time around him protecting her mother from his many insults by deflecting them onto her.  Her brothers, one off at college the other working in China have escaped his wrath and now she barely sees either of them.  Things have been this way for years and it seems that things will continue to be that way forever.  That is, until she meets Jacob, who she literally almost runs into on the way back from a doctors appointment. They get to talking and almost instantly become friends, He makes her think and disarms and challenges her in a way that nobody every has before.  For the first time she is thinking for herself and deciding to do thinks because she wants to and not because its what her dad wants her to do.

What I think…..

I liked this novel a lot! It is relate able to everyone, but especially to those that face adversity.  In the beginning of the novel Terra was annoying the crap out of me because she let everybody push her around. You could practically see her future in the sections with her mother who is the proverbial deer in headlights after years and years of emotional abuse.  Jacob thank goodness helps her to slowly start changing that!  I like how candidly the author shows us through her writing how Terra feels about her situation and what she is thinking. You can tell very much she did her research and did a very good job of creating a exceptional mental  picture.  Anyone that has gone through situations like these or knows someone who is will get a lot out of this novel.

5/5

REVIEW: If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now


By Claire Lazebnik
September 2010
5 Spot
ISBN-10: 0446555010
ISBN-13: 9780446555012




Rickie isn’t your typical soccer mom by any stretch of the imagination.  She has short hair and eyebrow stud and a nose ring.  Unlike most of the fellow mothers that live in her ritzy town, she would rather wear a T-shirt and pair of ratty jeans then anything resembling Chanel.  When Rickie was nineteen she became pregnant with her college boyfriends baby, who even before he was born hit the road for a scholarship opportunity and never returned.  As someone who previously prided herself on being perfect, perfect grades, perfect attitude, she soon faced the reality that caring for a baby was not something she could do on her own. So, she dropped out of school and went back home to live with her parents.

Noah is now six and thanks to his grandparents money support goes to the best private school in the area.  He has been running into some trouble lately though being bullied by some of the bigger kids.  Noah early on was diagnosed with and autoimmune disease which in short means he can not eat anything with gluten in it. This causes him to be smaller for his age and therefore not as athletic as his peers.

After being called into the principals office to discuss a recent issue in gym class and a pep talk from her step sister Melanie, who is going through some issues of her own they decide to do something about it.  Melanie’s idea, which Rickie under much duress agrees to, is to join the events committee at the school.  This way if her and a couple of the mothers get along then maybe their kids can make friends with Noah.  Its not easy being the youngest and the most, lets say, alternative of the group, but Rickie does her best to suffer through for the sake of her son.

I enjoyed this book very much.  It was not the typical chick lit I am used to that threw around brand names heavily.  I really could (though I do not have children) relate to Rickie’s feeling of being the odd woman out.  Though she obviously does seem rough around the edges at the start you consistently see her grow throughout the novel.  Definitely worth the time.

4/5

REVIEW:The Oracle Rebounds

 By Allison Van Diepen
November 2010
Harlequin Books
ISBN-10:  0373210213
ISBN-13: 9780373210213





The Oracle of Dating aka Kayla is back in the second installment in the series of the same name.  In The Oracle Rebounds, we find Kayla just coming home from a date with her boyfriend Jared in the foulest of moods.  She is in a bad mood because Jared has just broken up with her.  He recently got rejected by an art scholarship committee and says he thinks he should spend more time working on his portfolio.

Kayla is completely thrown off guard since she thought everything was going great with them! Obviously she must have made some gross miscalculation she thinks, so she decides to throw herself into her website. TOOD as I am going to call it for the sake of space and finger cramping from now on, has been, though continued without much of a pause at any point in need of some tlc.  She continued to write articles for its blog section weekly, but really wasn’t as invested in it as much as she used to be.  One of the things she decides to do is contact other blogs of a similar subject and ask if she could possibly guest post. This way she can get more exposure and hopefully drive more visitors to her website. It at first all seems well and good, but quickly backfires as one of the bloggers she contacts uses it as a platform to fire shots so to speak.

The dating front as much as she’d like to take her own advice to others and take a break still remains active.  One of them being a French foreign exchange student named Benoit and another a chess playing Russian.  She hopes that these boys will help her forget about Jared who as much as she tries not to give in, she still finds herself missing and loving.

I really enjoy this series! It was just as good as the previous one and I found the story and the ‘blog posts’ were mixed well together.  Maybe it is because I am a blogger too, but you can really feel how much she loves working on her site.   Yes, maybe she makes a little money for it, but more then that she helps people which for her is what’s important.  I can relate to her excitement and sometimes her fear when she adds a post or tweaks the site, because I know exactly how that feels!

5/5

Excuse my Mess!

Over the next couple of days I will be loading in all the reviews from the other two sites so that they can all be found here.  So, its gonna be a lil messy and its going to look like a did an awful lot of posts for one day, but  no worries just a lil copy and paste.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

REVIEW: Helen of Pasadena by Lian Dolan


Recently, I read Helen of Pasadena about a woman named Helen Fairchild who lost her husband in a freak parade float accident.  Just hours before her husbands fatal run in with the paper mache panda, he had told her that he was leaving her for the towns young and perky weather girl.  That is a lot to deal with in the space of only a couple of days, but Helen fairs better then I would have expected her too.  Not only is her husband dead but according to his lawyer who she meets with a few days after the funeral he is VERY much in the financial hole. So, not only was she left to raise their thirteen year old son all on her own, but she also has to get herself out of debt.
            One of the first things she decides to do is get a job part time job.  Being that her husband comes from a rich family, she lives in a very Stepford wives neighborhood. She has volunteered her time at the historical society enough in the past that she asks one of the ladies there if there is a job opening.  Lucky for her a traveling scholar has come to look through books from a famous archeologist that the society acquired.  There is many notebooks to read through and he needs a part-time assistant and as they say the rest is history.  Trouble is, she has a hard time concentrating on her work when he is around because not only is he smart, but easy on the eyes as well.
            My favorite part about this book  is how funny she is even during the most stressful situations she tries to make the best of it with a sarcastic remark either out loud or crossing your mind. Though a little too long winded at times this book was definitely a good read.

4/5

Here's a preview video I found about the book!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Welcome!

So I decided to combine both my YA and my Chick Lit blog into one all new blog!  It was really hard to keep putting together a new post for each blog.  People had told me that it was going to be hard to do, but I have always been the kind of person that would rather know from the experience itself.  I hope you like the title, I live in the countryside of central PA and regularly see Amish in carts and on a particularly windy day on occasion you can smell  cow crap.  I plan to keep things going the same way I have been, but now that I am reading the two genres together. This way I will be able to post more often and not speed read as much since I won't be going double time.  Hope you enjoy and ya'll come back now ya here?

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