Monday, December 28, 2009

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Description:

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

****
Expectation/s: Ally Carter, one of my favorite YA authors, said that this is her favorite book of the decade so you can just imagine how excited I was to read this.

Then...: The plot was definitely original. I liked it but I wasn't as crazy about it as I'd expected to be.

This is the first E. Lockhart book I've read and I was very impressed with her writing style. Frankie's snappy and witty lines were reminiscent of Ally Carter's books, nevertheless, it retains a unique tone (which may be due to the fact that it's not as girly as the Gallagher Girls series). I had a hard time guessing what was gonna happen next in the book - which is a good thing - though I had an inkling on how it was gonna end based from Frankie's personality alone. Though the book did keep me hooked and itching to know more, I found the part of Frankie's pranks a bit dragging. I felt like it could have been better - with more action, rather than Frankie narrating what they did and how they did it.

The story mainly revolves around Frankie; all the other characters felt like they were just there to help with Frankie's development. Frankie is probably the main character with the strongest feminist views I've encountered. In her every thought, her girls-can-do-what-boys-can attitude is always present that you just gotta admire her for it. Well, ideally, that is very applaudable, but realistically, she's just so intense about it that it's bordering on paranoia.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks combines laughter, mysterious secret societies, and weird (but fun) girl scheming. If you like your books fun and quirky, you might want to read this. :)

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Book Love: 3/5

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Rating System

Usually, my ratings are based on how much I enjoyed a particular book. However, I realized that this may be a bit unfair (and misleading?) for some since we all have different tastes in books, right? So from this point on, my ratings will be divided into three parts:

  • Plot
  • Writing
  • Book Love/Personal Enjoyment - this criterion describes how I normally rate the books I read (this will also be the rating I'll use on Goodreads)
and I'll be changing the ratings scale from a possible highest grade of 10/10 to 5/5 too. Hope this'll help my readers more. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Two Contests at The Neverending Shelf!

The Neverending Shelf is having a Thank You contest where 5 winners will get 17 books! Woohoo!

Here are some of the books that you can win:

Tall, Dark and Fangsome by Michelle Rowan
(The book came with the spine being a little warped at the bottom)

How to Catch and Keep a Vampire by Diana Laurence

Let Slip the Dogs of Love by Eugene Kachmarsky

Ruined by Paula Morris

Secrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Hornby

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese

Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman

Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (ARC)

Black is for Beginnings by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (ARC)

Candle Man: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance by Glenn Dakin (ARC)

Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley (ARC)

Spellbinder by Helen Stringer (ARC)

Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me by Lisa Fineberg Cook

The Man who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett (ARC)

Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (ARC)

*****

The Neverending Shelf is also hosting The 12 Blogs of Christmas Contest there will be 9 winners!

The Goodies:
Taken by Storm Taken by Storm

The Real Real The Real Real

Lone Wolf Lone Wolf (ARC)

Raiders' Ransom Raiders' Ransom (ARC)

A $10 iTunes Gift Card and a bunch of swag!


8 other winners a swag bag filled with:

2
Shadow Hills bookmarks (one signed!)
2
Shadow Hills magnets /pins
1
The Iron King bookmark
2 Jennifer Estep bookmarks
And some other surprise goodies.


Both contests ends on Dec 31. :)

Giveaway at Princess Bookie!

Ohmygosh, AWESOME, AWESOME giveaway from the Princess Bookie!!!!

Here's what you can win:

or

It ends on Dec 31!!!!

P.S. If you're not a follower of her blog, please say I referred you. :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In My Mailbox (11)

Finally, a new IMM post! :)

*In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren*

I didn't get any YA books this week, instead, I bought:


Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) by J. R. Ward

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.

Everyone seems to have read this series so I got curious and decided to start on it. I've read it and I'm looking forward to the 2nd book. :)









The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

Truly Plaice, an overly large and ungainly girl, is the polar opposite of her sister, Serena Jane, the epitome of feminine perfection. With their parents dead, Truly and Serena Jane are separated: Serena Jane to live a life of privilege as the future May Queen and Truly to live on the outskirts of town, the subject of constant abuse and humiliation. There, while Serena Jane’s beauty proves to be her biggest curse, Truly finds her calling—the ability to heal illness with herbs and naturopathic techniques—and, in reckoning with her demons, the possibility of love in unexpected places.

I've only seen positive reviews for this book... plus, the plot sounds interesting so I hope this'll be good. :)




What did you gals get this week? :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

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

Description from Goodreads:

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 fianc√©. 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



****

I was expecting. . .
Well, A LOT. Vampires, romance, fun... the list goes on. I was so excited to read this book. [Our local bookstores didn't have it here so I even had to a special book order and wait for it for almost two months!] So yeah, I really had high expectations. :)

. . .then
It's unconventional. Some might say it's even a bit weird. But, ZOMG. I. Love. It.

Royalty + Vampires? Can you say awesome? And Lucius Vladescu? Can I just say awesome again?! Seriously, I am so in love with this book, I'm not sure I can make an objective review. :p

Just a few pages into it and I knew that this book was not at all what I expected. Readers looking for fun will definitely get it here, though it might not be your usual laugh-out-loud fun. For me, the fun part was a bit subtle - more like being taken aback at something Lucius said, slowly starting to find the humor, and then bam! I'd just find myself grinning and giggling like a fool. [I did say I love it, right?] Vampire politics also played a major role in this book, which was a unique and enjoyable treat.

The growth of the romance between Jessica and Lucius is - I can't find any other word for it - delicious. This was no love at first sight, which is totally believable. Instead, you get this slow building yet INTENSE feelings from both of them. Anyway, how can you be anything but intense with someone like Lucius Vladescu, who is the epitome of all things dark, handsome, gentlemanly, adorably-sarcastic, heroic... and a whole lot more. Btw, kudos to Beth Fantaskey for managing to keep Lucius' archaic language all throughout the book!

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is a book I would really love everyone who is a lover of all things mysterious and romantic to read. It may not wow you with unexpected twists and turns, but it's a book that will you leave with a charming feeling that will have you wanting to re-read (parts of) it long after you're through with the book.

Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Book Love: 5/5

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Giveaway at Extreme Reader Book Reviews!

Extreme Reader Book Reviews is having a Big Holiday Giveaway! There will be two winners of two prize packs.

1st prize: first 4 books of Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
2nd prize: first 3 Blood Coven books by Mari Mancusi

And there will be a third prize once she hits 150 followers! To join, visit her blog. :) And oh, it ends on Dec 19.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Some of my (a bit) recent favorite reads!

I'm kind of in a reviewing funk right now (I don't know why) so let me just share some of the recent YA books that I've read and loved. And if you haven't read them, I suggest you pick them up then maybe you'd get to fall in love with them too! ^-^


  • Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
  • Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Gallagher Girls #3) by Ally Carter
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare
  • City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare
  • City of Glass (Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Georgia Nicolson #1) by Louise Rennison
  • On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God (Georgia Nicolson #2) by Louise Rennison
  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Hopefully, you'll be seeing my reviews of some of these books soon! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I have a new header!!!! Yay!!!!

I finally made this blog a header (using Photoshop)! What do you guys think of it? I'm not really an expert on this kind of thing so... what I did was pretty simple. :)

Hope you like it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

Description from Goodreads:

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

****

I was expecting. . .
A unique concept guaranteed to catch my interest and keep me glued to the pages

. . .then
I enjoyed the plot. I found the book packed with adventure. Yet, I still found myself spacing out while riffling through some of the pages.

All Shay wanted was to turn sixteen already so she can become pretty and be with her childhood friend, Peris. But somewhere along the way, she met Shay. And things just got a little more complicated. Now, Tally has to lead the authorities to Shay (who ran away) if she ever wants to turn pretty.

I salute Scott Westerfeld for the amazing imagery he provided. The way the story was written, it really felt like he did live there. In some books, after reading the setting of the book, we try to imagine how it would look like for real. Then again, there are those books where you get sucked in a whole new world after reading more or less a couple of lines. And Uglies is one of the latter. I guess the fact that I found myself almost nodding off at some of the parts of the book was due to my limited knowledge (and reading experience) on anything sci-fi. Yes, the hoverboards were amazing. But after reading about how Tally had to maneuver this way and that, it was like, argh. Information overload. But I blame myself for not having a vivid imagination. :p

As for the characters, I'm still not sure what to make of them. Tally comes off as brave, independent, and an overall good friend. Though there were times that I wanted to strangle her so she could just confess already! (ok, minor spoiler there). Shay was the typical-but-not (sometimes misunderstood) friend who you wouldn't want to piss off lest she becomes... er, not your friend. I'll refrain talking about the other characters since I want this review to remain spoiler free. :)

Uglies is the first book in what (I think) will be an amazing series. I love the concept, the writing was excellent, and the characters were all their own unique selves (which is always a good thing!) trying to live in this awe-inspiring world. Though, I did have some problems with some of the sci-fi aspects of the story, I'm hoping I would have gotten over those by the time I read Pretties, the sequel to Uglies.

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Book Love: 3.5/5

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I hate spam.

In the past few weeks, I had a couple or more spam comments on some of my entries. SPAM, as in those comments which just contains links and doesn't have anything to do with the actual post?

So usually I just delete those. I don't really want to have to moderate the comments but if this keeps up, I may have to. Er, I really hope not. How 'bout you guys n gals? How do you deal with this spam business? :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

In My Mailbox (10)

*IMM is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren*

I only got three books the past week (all won from a giveaway). :)


Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra

Raised by her single mom (who's always dating the wrong kind of man) in a struggling California neighborhood, Angel Rodriguez is a headstrong, independent young woman who channels her hopes and dreams for the future into her painting. But when her entry for a community mural doesn't rate, she's heartbroken. Even with winning artist Nathan Ramos -- a senior track star and Angel's secret crush -- taking a sudden interest in Angel and her art, she's angry and hurt. She's determined to find her own place in the art world, her own way.

That's when Miguel Badalin -- from the notorious graffiti crew Reyes Del Norte -- opens her eyes to an underground world of graf tags and turf wars. She's blown away by this bad boy's fantastic work and finds herself drawn to his dangerous charm. Soon she's running with Miguel's crew, pushing her skills to the limit and beginning to emerge as the artist she always dreamed she could be. But Nathan and Miguel are bitter enemies with a shared past, and choosing between them and their wildly different approaches to life and art means that Angel must decide what matters most before the artist inside of her can truly break free.



Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra

Do you believe in fate?

Kara Martinez has been trying to be "normal" ever since the accident that took her father's life when she was eleven years old. She's buried the caliente side of her Mexican heritage with her father and tried to be the girl her rigid mother wants her to be--compliant and dressed in pink, and certainly not acting out like her older brother Jason. Not even Danielle, her best friend at Valdez High, has seen the real Kara; only those who read her anonymous blog know the deepest secrets of the sign seer.

Because Kara has a gift--one that often feels like a curse. She sees signs, visions that are clues to a person's fate, if she can put together the pieces of the puzzle in time. So far, she's been able to solve the clues and avert disaster for those she's been warned about--until she sees the flash of a gun on a fellow classmate, and the stakes are raised higher than ever before. Kara does her best to follow the signs, but it's her heart that wanders into new territory when she falls for a mysterious guy from the wrong side of town, taking her closer to answers she may not be able to handle. Will her forbidden romance help her solve the deadly puzzle before it's too late...or lead her even further into danger?



Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill

Girl meets boy at a car wash.
"Dog," she says.
"Dude," he says.
And probably this would have been a sweet teen romance. . . .
If Beals hadn't been sitting next to her in the car.
If Beals hadn't been a supernatural repo man looking to repossess her car.
And to possess her.
David Macinnis Gill delivers the whole enchilada. With a side of soul.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Author Interview: Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of Crazy Beautiful, a modern retelling of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, which I reviewed recently. It has a unique approach on the retelling, and of course, it's terribly romantic!

Now, we get to know Lauren a little bit more! ^-^


1. Your book, Crazy Beautiful, is a sort of retelling of the Beauty and the Beast. What made you decide to write a fairy tale retelling?

Thank you for having me! I'd recently seen Beauty & the Beast on Broadway and I got to thinking about why of all the Disneyfied fairy tales, that's the one that's translated best to stage and screen. I decided it's because it's the only one where the male is more than just pretty window dressing for the far more interesting female. I decided I wanted to do my own contemporary version, addressing themes that are important to me: like how much of the way we treat people is based on physical appearance.

2. Do you foresee yourself writing more fairy tale retellings in the future?

Absolutely. I love talking fairy tales and classic stories and trying to find a way to make them fresh and different.

3. Your books all belong to the realistic genre. Would you ever consider writing something with a touch of fantasy/paranormal?

Actually, The Sisters 8 series for young readers aged 6-10, which I created with my novelist husband Greg Logsted (www.greglogsted.com) and our nine-year-old daughter Jackie, does have fantasy elements in it, but I'd certainly be open to writing books like that for the teen audience as well. I thrive on trying different things all the time.

4. Ok, let's get to know more about you... aside from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?

You mean there's something to life other than writing and reading??? Let's see... I love to shoot pool when I get the chance and I'm something of a TV-head. I know a lot of people who like to proudly proclaim, "I never watch TV," as though that will earn them some sort of seat on the Nobel committee or possibly automatic acceptance in Mensa. But I love TV. Some of my favorite shows are "One Tree Hill," "Smallville," "House" and "Glee," and, of course, "General Hospital."

5. Can you tell us some of your favorite books?

Some of my favorite YA authors are Lisa McMann, Alyson Noel, A.S. King, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah Dessen and Ellen Hopkins. I also love the classics, particularly those written by Austen and the Brontes. For 2009, my favorite YA book: Freeze Frame, by Heidi Ayarbe; favorite adult novel: Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. All-time favorite book by a dead author: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. All-time favorite book by a living author: Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Me: Yay! Another Austen fan! I'm a fan of the Bronte sisters too. :) LOVED The Great Gatsby.

6. I am totally crushing on a lot of fictional crushes. Can you tell us some of your favorites? (inspired by the post The Hot Ones Are Always Fictional)

Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby and Phineas from A Separate Peace, both of which are problematic because both, you know - well, I don't want to spoil the endings for anyone who hasn't read the books yet. Oh, and for about 20 years I've been in love with Richard Jury from Martha Grimes' mystery series. Richard Jury is smart and funny but there's also a sadness to him - I'd like to take that pain away.

7. Are you currently working on anything? Do you have something to say to the readers out there? :)

My next YA novel, The Education of Bet, is due out in July 2010. It's about a 16-year-old girl in Victorian England who impersonates a boy in order to get a proper education. As for what I'd like to say to readers out there: Thank you for reading my books! I can't promise to give you the same reading experience over and over again - since I don't confine myself to a particular genre or type of book or even style of storytelling - but I can promise to always do my best to write stories that don't waste your time, that say something about the world we live in and that are hopefully entertaining.

Oooh... The Education of Bet sounds good. I'm always up for anything set in the Victorian era! :)


Thank you Lauren for stopping by here at Reality Bites... Fiction Does It Better! I had a great a time reading your answers!

****

Don't forget to check out my review of Crazy Beautiful! And if you want to know more about Lauren and her books, go check out her site! ^-^

Friday, November 13, 2009

Audrey, Wait! - Robin Benway

Description from Goodreads

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!,” a break-up song that's so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can't hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.
Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.



****

I was expecting...
Strangely enough, I wasn't expecting much despite the large number of positive reviews I've read about it.

....then
Audrey, Wait! was a surprise - a huge, monstrous, explosive surprise! Every YA fan should read it!

I wasn't expecting much from this book because I hate break-ups. They just doesn't sit well with my true-love-believing and hopeless-romantic personality. And Audrey, Wait! started with a break-up. If it weren't for glowing reviews from other book bloggers, I would have probably kept it at the bottom of my TBR pile. Now, I'm so grateful for all those reviews as Audrey, Wait! is now one of my favorite books of all time!

Audrey is one of those characters whom you just can't help but like. She's frank and honest (without being mean). She's a good friend. She's lively (as in not boring). All these without suffering from the usual setback of other female MCs - meaning she's not a geek/nerd/social outcast. Yes, she's popular AND she's not a bi(a)tch. :) The other characters - Victoria (Audrey's quirky and crazy best friend), Jonah (Victoria's boyfriend), and James (the adorable co-worker) also helped in making the book an insanely fun and giggle-filled read.

Contrary to what I've said so far, Audrey Wait! is not all giggles and laughter. The book also depicted Audrey's growth from this fun-time-seeking party girl to someone who still knows how to have a good time but who slowly realizes the possible consequences of her actions. I even found myself shedding a tear or two over Audrey's frustrations and the unfairness of it all.

Honestly, I can't remember a thing that I didn't like about this book. Robin Benway's got pure talent and I can't wait to read more of her works!

Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Book Love: 5/5

Another Great Contest (not mine)

A BookLover's Diary is having a fab giveaway! There will be 4 winners and it it will be ending on November 30. You can enter here!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In My Mailbox (9)

Hi everyone! I wasn't able to do an IMM post last week so I'll be featuring the book that I bought w/in the past couple of weeks. :)

*In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren*


Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

Austin music fest
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!





Fire by Kristin Cashore (prequel to Graceling)

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.





Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that?
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.
But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.



Beastly by Alex Flinn

I am a beast.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.





Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Book 1) by Louise Rennison

She has a precocious 3-year-old sister who tends to leave wet nappies at the foot of her bed, an insane cat who is prone to leg-shredding "Call of the Wild" episodes, and embarrassing parents who make her want to escape to Stonehenge and dance with the Druids. No wonder 14-year-old Georgia Nicolson laments, "Honestly, what is the point?" A Bridget Jones for the younger set, Georgia records the momentous events of her life--and they are all momentous--in her diary, which serves as a truly hilarious account of what it means to be a modern girl on the cusp of womanhood. No matter that her particular story takes place in England, the account of her experiences rings true across the ocean (and besides, "Georgia's Glossary" swiftly eradicates any language barriers).


That's it! FUN! FUN! FUN! What did you guys get? :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Crazy Beautiful - Lauren Baratz-Logsted

This review was supposed to be a part of Once Upon A Week but I was so busy with enrollment that wasn't able to post it! :(


Description

In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself.

Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t keep her away. In fact, they don’t make any difference at all to her.

But to Lucius, they mean everything. They remind him of the beast he is inside. Perhaps Aurora is his Beauty, destined to set his soul free from its suffering.

Or maybe she’s just a girl who needs love just like he does.


****

I was expecting...
romance, passion, lots of *sighing* (by myself) throughout the book

... then
I got my romantic part, *sighs*, not as much passion as I was expecting, but I still liked it!

Crazy Beautiful has a very unique approach in its retelling of Beauty and the Beast. For one, Lucius is just your average boy. He's not good-looking. He's not rich. He's just ordinary, but with hooks for his hands. For me, that was what made this book all the more romantic - the fact that this pretty and popular girl, Aurora, fell in love with this ordinary (and somewhat sullen) boy at first sight. I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff. :)

The book used the two main characters' alternating POVs, which is a style that I have always liked! At times, the narration from the character's perspective would just include a couple of sentences, and I think that worked in giving off a mysterious yet light vibe.

I think Crazy Beautiful is the kind of book which you'd either really like or find as just a so-so book (it depends on the reader, I guess). Luckily for me, I really liked it! :)

Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Book Love: 4/5

Huge Contest! (not mine)

at Teens Read and Write!

They're giving away LOTS of great books (I really do mean LOTS)! Actually, they're giving away such a huge number of books that I can't even list them all! So you'd have to check them out (and you can join too) here!

The giveaway ends on November 15, btw, so hurry up and join! :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Once Upon A Week: Interview w/ Bri Meets Books


Hiya everyone! I have here today a fellow blogger and Once Upon A Week participant...



So, on with the interview...

1. How long have you been blogging and what got you started in the first place?

I've been blogging various places for years. Probably just a need to say something and somewhere to say it! I've been book blogging since 2007. What got me started in book blogging was I went to university, and left my long-standing job as a children's merchandise specialist at a bookstore. I missed the store, and more specifically the customers and recommending kids books to them. I started blogging to keep my passion for children's books alive.

2. So you're a big YA lover, what's your ultimate favorite YA book?

That's a hard one. I have so many. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin for its beauty and simplicity. Lessons from a Dead Girl for its ability to both shock you to the core and give you periods away from the heaviness. I don't know, honestly.

- I haven't read those books yet, but thanks for recommending it! I'm always up for a good YA book!

3. Aside from YA books, what other genres do you enjoy reading?

General fiction. Children's lit and all that it contains: picture books, first readers, etc. A little bit of science fiction and fantasy. Urban fantasy is the more preferred. Social science, I love books about girl culture, and the media.

4. Ok, I always try to ask this question:
I posted something on my personal blog, entitled The Hot Ones Are Always Fictional. Can you add more to my list?

Puck from Glee
Angel from Buffy and Angel
Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid (admit girls. you wanted to marry him when you were younger)

- Well, I wanted to marry all the princes from fairy tales way back then... LOL.

5. Since it's Once Upon A Week... which fairy tale do you love the most and would enjoy reading over and over again?

The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I don't know why.

6. If you had the chance to rewrite The Twelve Dancing Princesses, what would you change or add? Or would you like it to stay the same?

I've been working on a retelling of it forever. I'd say that once a year for several years, I pick it up and add to it. It's a lovely story, but I want it to have more depth. It feels like the princesses are props.

7. What do you like most about fairy tales?

The sense of wonder and magic. The neat little endings. The strong female characters. The way a lot of them were designed as cautionary tales for children, particularly the Grimm Brothers' collected stories, and how can still be used as reflections of our society. Who hasn't heard a foolhardy politician referred to as "the Emperor with no clothes?" etc?

- I agree. Most would think of fairy tales as just plain stories for the kids, but really, most of the time, they contain way more depth than some of the contemporary fiction out there.

Thanks Bri! Want to know more about Bri? Head on over to her lovely blog and read some (or a lot) of her book reviews and author interviews! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Demon Princess: Reign or Shine - Michelle Rowen

Description from the author's site:

For Nikki Donovan, being a teenager can be hell. Literally.

As if trying to fit in at a new school and navigating the social scene isn’t enough stress for her, sixteen-year-old Nikki Donovan just found out that her long-lost father is, in fact, the demon king of the Shadowlands — the world that separates and protects ours from the Underworld. When she is brought there by the mysterious (and surprisingly cute) messenger Michael, she learns that her father is dying, and that he wants her to assume the throne. To complicate matters, a war is brewing between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, her half-demon qualities are manifesting, and her growing feelings for Michael are forbidden. Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew — what’s a teenage demon princess to do?

****
My expectations: FUN FUN FUN!

...what happened? I'm so glad it is!

It's always a good thing when a book presents a concept/idea that hasn't been done before. And that's the case with Demon Princess: Reign or Shine. I'm not absolutely sure that this is the first YA book that tackles demons... and half-demons, but in a land filled with vampire-love stories, this book is definitely one to stand out.

Here are some more reasons why this book stands out:

1. Nikki, a former social outcast, is the high school queen's best friend, who is NOT a mean girl. (I love that!)

2. Instead of the guy always protecting the girl (very very common), here, Nikki is actually stronger than Michael. (Yay for Girl Power!)

3. The guy (Michael) is cute, but in a subtle kind of way. As in, not too many girls going gaga over him. :)

And the book was narrated with just the right amount of lightness and fun I want with my YA. Definitely fun!

The only low point for me was that I guessed how the ending would go too easily. Then again, maybe I've just been reading too much mystery that I end up spoiling the ending for myself (am I speaking logically here? Haha.).

But overall, it's fun! It's new! And if you want that, I suggest you go pick this up! :)

Btw, Reign or Shine is the 1st book in a series. The next book, Reign Check, will be out on June 2010 (according to Goodreads).

Plot: 3.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Book Love: 4/5

A Contest (Not Mine!)

Robolobolyn's Books is giving away a signed copy of The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong, which is the sequel to The Summoning, which is a great great great book! You can see my review of it here.

Ok, back to the giveaway. It ends on November 17. Head on over to her site to join!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren. It showcases books you received in the mail, bought, or borrowed this week.

I only bought one book this week...


City of Glass (Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare
I was so excited to read this that I put on hold whatever I was reading at the moment! LOVED it!

And I just found out that there's a 4th book in the series - City of Fallen Angels. Can't wait for it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods #4) - Melissa de la Cruz


I decided not to include a synopsis so as not to provide spoilers for those who haven't read the first 3 books in the series. Go ahead, read them already! :)

The Van Alen Legacy, for me, is the best in the series so far. Melissa de la Cruz's style seems to have improved in her latest book. The book featured Schuyler's, Bliss's, and Mimi's POVs, and I was glad that each chapter indicated which character's thoughts were being narrated. That saved me from the confusion I got from the three other novels, wherein I, sometimes, had to read a couple of paragraphs before I realized whose perspective it was. The plot was very unexpected, not at all what I was expecting coming off from the third book. Though I'm not complaining, after all, who wants a predictable story? Okay, I'm getting a bit spoiler-y here...

Though I did say that Melissa de la Cruz's writing style has improved, I'm still not a fan of it. I particularly don't really like she used ellipses all over the place (or book). Ellipses are good for effect. But when a whole paragraph is filled with it, hmm... it's not so great. Still, I still love the plot and the characters (ehem, Jack Force, ehem) so I'm going to keep watching out for this series.

As for the cover, it's gorgeous as usual (all the Blue Bloods books' covers are gorgeous!) but it's my favorite among the bunch! :)

Plot: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Book Love: 4/5

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bite Me! - Melissa Francis

Description

AJ Ashe isn't your typical seventeen-year-old vampire—as if there is such a thing! She's stuck in the middle of a huge fight between her two BFFs. Her ex-boyfriend—whom she's still totally in love with, by the way—is now her stepbrother. A former classmate—who, um, she may or may not have turned into a vampire—is stalking her. And now, apparently, the fate of humankind lies in her little undead hands. What ever happened to the good old days, when all a vampire girl had to worry about was the occasional zit and hiding her taste for blood?

****

I gotta admit, I bought this book because of the little sentence in the back cover... 'Her ex-boyfriend—whom she's still totally in love with, by the way—is now her stepbrother.' Intriguing, right?

But as I moved along with the story, I found myself getting more and more irritated with the characters. I had a hard time trying to like Ryan, the male protagonist. Sure, he and AJ had some cute moments, but for the rest of the book, I just found him irritating, immature, inconsistent... the list goes on. On the other hand, AJ was likable enough. She related the story in a light and fun tone. However, she did had her mean girl moments too - which is, of course, really annoying. Actually, this one had a sort of Gossip Girl kinda vibe so if you're a fan of the books, maybe you'll like it.

Ok, for the positive points:

1. I found myself itching to know what'll happen in the end. That means it's not boring.
2. I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority here so maybe, it's just that this isn't really my type of book.
3. It did had its fun moments.
4. It has a unique take on vampires.

Oh, and it's the first book in the series. The next one's entitled Love Sucks! (which I may or may not read, I'm still not sure.)

Plot: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Book Love: 2.5/5

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