Thursday, May 28, 2009

Contest Reminders!

Hey, guys,
Just updating you with the contests going on around here. Hurry to enter--all three are ending soon!

- The Girl Power contest that Chicklita and I are putting together ends Monday, June 1, so you only have 3 days left so enter! Check it out--we're giving away 3 awesome books: How to Ditch Your Fairy, Hot Mess: Summer in the City, and Celebrity Skin.

- I'm giving away a copy of Frenemies and Faketastic, both by Alexa Young, and some other fun goodies. This contest ends Wednesday, June 3, and you'll definitely want to check it out, because one person is going to win it all! Click here to find details on how to enter!

- Check out my interview on Mrs. Magoo Reads.  Mrs. Magoo and I are giving away a copy of Christine Hurley Deriso's Talia Talk, which is a very fun and cute read! This contest ends as well on Wednesday, June 3! Thanks, Mrs. Magoo! (:

Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Demon Princess: Reign Or Shine by Michelle Rowen
Coming out September 26, 2009

   As if trying to fit in at a new school isn't stressful enough, 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 us from the Underworld. When she is brought there by the mysterious--and surprisingly cute--messenger Michael, she learns that her father is dying, and he wants her to assume the throne. To complicate manners, a war is brewing between the Shadowlands and the Underworld, her half-demon qualities are manifesting, and her growing feelings for Michael are completely forbidden. Ruling a kingdom, navigating a secret crush, and still making it home by curfew--what's a teenage demon princess to do?

This sounds great--I know I'm definitely looking forward to it. I love the unique twist, and isn't that cover simply fab? 

Monday, May 25, 2009


Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Pages: 425
Published: Simon Pulse, 2005
Recommended/Not recommended
Genre: Science Fiction
Cover: B+
Overall Grade: A-

   Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic world where the city is divided into two: one half is where the Uglies live, people who are awkwardly built with crooked noses and eyes too close to each other. On the other side of the river live the Pretties, beautiful people whose only jobs are to have fun, go to parties, and be happy.
   Tally is about to turn sixteen, and is more than excited: instead of getting her driver's license, she's about to undergo the operation that she's been anticipating all of her life--the operation that eventually transforms all Uglies into drop-dead gorgeous Pretties. But then Tally meets a girl named Shay, who doesn't want to become pretty, and they become close friends. On Tally's operation day, the government has discovered that Shay has run away, and they blackmail Tally: if she can find the mysterious town that Shay is hiding out in, miles and miles away, a place where people don't have to ever become pretty, then Tally will be turned into a Pretty. Otherwise, she'll have to face a lifetime of being ugly...But can Tally turn in her friend, especially when she learns the ugly truth about the pretty operation?
   My thoughts: I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by Uglies. When I first heard the plot, I have to admit I thought it sounded kind of stupid and maybe even a bit boring. A world where everyone's goal is to become beautiful? I thought. Come ON. But all in all, I really liked it, even though I don't normally read sci-fi. The plot was interesting and thought-provoking, definitely, which was perfect for me because I was reading this for an in-school lit circle group. I was blown away by how creative Westerfeld was in making this amazing world that may seem perfect on the outside, but is deadly on the inside: all the futuristic details like hovercars were fun, and I loved how Tally and her friends mocked how stupid our civilization is (or in the book's case, was). Tally was a great character: sarcastic and funny and brave.
   On the outside, Uglies looks hefty at 425 pages, but for me, the middle to the end of the book flew. The plot moves quickly, and the action kept me glued to my seat, madly addicted to the plot. There were so many twists and turns that it might seem like the book will never end, but I was sucked into the actions and dialogue of the story so much that I didn't notice.
   My one problem was that some of the descriptions of objects and actions were really confusing so that it was sometimes difficult to picture what was happening. I don't really know all of the parts of a hoverboard! (:
   All in all, I highly recommend Uglies and I know I'll definitely be picking up the second book, Pretties, in the future--that cliff-hanger of an ending left me craving more!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Week In Review!

"Retrospective" was created by the oh-so-awesome Steph of Reviewer X!
Here's what went on this week:

Monday: I posted an interview with Cynthea Liu in which she talks about travel, food, and her book, The Great Call of China!

Wednesday: Instead of posting my usual "Waiting on Wednesday" post, I introduced a contest in which I'll be giving away a copy of Alexa Young's Frenemies and Faketastic and some other fun stuff. Check it out. I also posted a reminder for another contest I'm holding with a fellow blogger, themed "Girl Power". We're giving away 3 awesome books to one lucky person, so definitely enter!

Thursday: I posted a review for Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley. Definitely check it out when it's published in August. I loved this one!

Saturday: I posted my weekly In My Mailbox post. I got two cool books this week!

Sunday: I'm almost done with Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. It's totally cool, and I'm excited to see how it ends! I also saw Night at the Museum 2. It was really fun and cute!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

In My Mailbox!

    It was a light week, but a good one! In My Mailbox" was created by Kristi of the Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie!

Slept Away by Julie Kraut
   Laney Parker is a city girl through and through. For her, summertime means stepping out of her itchy gray school uniform and into a season of tanning at rooftop swimming pools, brunching at sidewalk cafes, and-as soon as the parents leave for the Hamptons-partying at her classmates' apartments.
   But this summer Laney's mother has other plans for Laney. It's called Camp Timber Trails and rustic doesn't even to begin to describe the un-air-conditioned log cabin nightmare. Laney is way out of her element--the in-crowd is anything but cool, popularity seems to be determined by swimming skills, and the activities seem more like boot camp than summer camp.
    Splattered with tie dye fall out, stripped of her cell, and going through Diet Coke withdrawl, Laney is barely hanging on. Being declared the biggest loser of the bunk is one thing, but when she realizes her summer crush is untouchably uncrushable in the real world, she starts to wonder, can CAMP cool possibly translate to COOL cool? Summer camp might just turn this city girl's world upside down!
Whew. Long summary, but doesn't this sound amazing? I am a total sucker for camp stories, so when this came in the mail (thanks, Random House!), I was so excited and now I can't wait to begin!

One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin
   Finn has always felt out of place, but suddenly her world is unraveling. It started with The Party. And Adam Porter. And the night in September that changed everything. The only person who knows about that night is Audrey--Finn's best friend, her witness to everything, and the one person Finn trusts implicitly. So when Finn's childhood friend Jersy moves back to town--reckless, beautiful Jersy, all lips and eyes and soft hair--Finn gives her blessing for Audrey to date him. How could she possibly say no to Audrey? With Audrey gone for the summer, though, Finn finds herself spending more and more time with Jersy, and for the first time in her life, something feels right. But Finn can't be the girl who does this to her best friend...can she?
Love the cover for this one! The plot sounds just OK, so I don't know whether to read it or not. Thanks, Random House! This one comes out on May 26. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lipstick Apology

Title: Lipstick Apology
Author: Jennifer Jabaley
Pages: 286
Published: Razorbill, August 8 2009
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Recommended/Not Recommended
Cover: B
Overall Grade: A

   When sixteen-year-old Emily Carson's parents die in a plane crash, her world comes crashing down around her. Left only with a mystery behind her mother's last message, Emily Please Forgive Me, scrawled on a tray table before the plane went down, and questions, Emily's uprooted from her quiet suburban Pennsylvania life and is plunged into Manhattan, where she's to live with her makeup-mogul aunt. At her new school, Emily finds new friends--and meets boys. There's Owen, the amazing, gorgeous, popular one who makes Emily feel like a princess. And then there's Anthony, Emily's chemistry lab partner/baker/"brother" who helps Emily heal...
   My thoughts: Wow. What a phenomenal read! Once I hit the middle, I literally could not stop reading. This debut novel was like a contagious disease--I was sucked into Emily's world. I could picture all of the people and places and actions described. I was hooked. The vortex-like plot was addicting, beautifully written, and realistic, and I really like how Ms. Jabaley added a mystery subplot to it (Emily finding out why her mom was sorry) without being cheesy and false.
   Ms. Jabaley did a terrific job writing a story with enough twists and turns so that it was entertaining and compelling but not obnoxiously long and confusing, and making the novel equally serious/heartbreaking and funny/sweet/light!
    My one big problem was all the errors in the ARC that I read. There was everything from punctuation and capitalization issues to misspelled words and funky indents. It got really distracting after awhile, so hopefully they'll fix that before the final printing--yikes!
   And oh my goodness, the ending was so perfectly cliché and corny that I felt a bit nauseous, but happy all the same because I'm a sucker for happy endings! (:
   Although the plot was very predictable, I still found myself love, love loving Lipstick Apology just because it was so unique and fun to read. I know that when it comes out in August, I'm definitely buying a copy to reread over and over again! Overall, a very beautiful debut. You'll definitely want to watch this author.

* Karin Perry, my ARC is coming your way! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Frenemies Contest!

     Yes, I'm interrupting this week's Waiting on Wednesday post to introduce a cool new contest, in which I'll be giving away 2 books and some other fun stuff!

So, super-cool author Alexa Young has generously donated the following to this contest:

1 copy of Frenemies
1 copy of Faketastic
Some Faketastic swag

Are you excited yet? Here's how to enter to win both  books and the Faketastic goodies (magnets, stickers, etc):

1) Comment below with your name and email address (so I can contact you if you win!!!)
2) Extra entries can be gained the following ways:
+1 Comment on my review for Frenemies
+1 Comment on my review for Faketastic
+2 Comment on my interview with Alexa
+3 Post about the contest on your blog (sidebar, whole post, whatever)

The contest ends on Tuesday, June 2. Good luck!

Also, if you're in the contest-y mood, check out the contest that Chicklita and I are hosting together. We've recently added a copy of How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier into the prize pack, so if you haven't already, check it out!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Monday Muse: Interview with Cynthea Liu

Today's Muse: Cynthea Liu
Author of: The Great Call of China (review here)
Starring in: An interview, in which she talks about travel, food, and books!
Bookworm: Welcome, Cynthea! To start off, please tell us: is your book, The Great Call of China, based off of a personal experience?
Cynthea: The plot is fictional but many of the details about Xi'an in The Great Call had a lot to do with my own experiences there. I've done practically everything Cece has done there for fun. Also, Cece's personality, to some extent, was a bit like mine when I was in high school. I wasn't the most outgoing person ever and I was absolutely embarrassing around hot guys. But if you want to read something that is much more autobiographical, look for Paris Pan Takes the Dare, my second book, in June. Paris and her family bear a striking resemblance to myself and my own family. 

Bookworm: *adds Paris Pan to her massive TBR list* Where are your favorite places to travel?
Cynthea: I LOVE traveling. I've been to lots of places, thanks to my mom who used to work for the airlines (thanks, Mom!). If I had to choose some favorites, I think Sydney is pretty sweet--the Aussies are AU-SOME. Paris is a must-see, too. Crazy-packed with culture, history, the arts. And the FOOD! The French truly are gourmets! China, of course, is fabulous, for all the reasons mentioned in The Great Call. But I am always astounded by how amazing the US is, too. There's nothing like traveling around the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Bryce...Fabulous!

Bookworm: For those who haven't read the book, The Great Call is about a girl who goes to Xi'an, China, for a summer abroad. Have you ever been to China before? What were your
 experiences like there?
Cynthea: I've been about four or five times now. And Cece's first impressions upon her 
arrival were exactly mine when I stepped foot in the motherland, myself. I was immediately taken aback by the modern-ness of the Shanghai airport, the intense pollution in Xi'an, the masses of people everywhere. China is pretty darn incredible, but, of course, not everything there is perfect--mainly, I wish China would adopt Japan's need for cleanliness when it comes to public toilets. Seriously, Japan makes every country look bad in this department. But other than that, the food (that isn't still alive) is crazy-good! There's always a ton to see! And the shopping is PHENOMENAL!

Bookworm: What is your favorite/funniest travel story?
Cynthea: You know the scene [in the book] where Cece is confronted by the duck? Well, in real life, I did have a meal like that in China. There really was an eel on the table that looked ready to attack. And the drunken shrimp were flipping in an out of the bowl, splashing wine everywhere. Poor guys. (At least they were drunk, right?) I still remember watching my aunt eat one of the shrimp with its feet still kicking as she deshelled it in her mouth. EWWWW! I can handle fish-eyeballs, no problem (not eating them, but watching people eat them). But the shrimp-thing almost killed me.

Bookworm: Speaking of food, what kind of Chinese food is your favorite?
Cynthea: What kind? Hmmmm....I love all sorts of Chinese food. Chinese SOUPS are awesome. Though I'm not a noodle-lover. Must be some anti-carb thing I have going on. I also really enjoy Peking Duck (unlike Cece). The duck has to be in the top five for me.

Bookworm: Least favorite?
Cynthea: STINKY TOFU (Chou Doufu). It really tastes as bad as it sounds. And the smell? The stuff belongs in a sewage pipe, not on your dinner table. Totally gross.

Bookworm: Are you planning on writing any more books for the S.A.S.S. series?
Cynthea: I still have to finish a bunch of manuscripts before I can even entertain another S.A.S.S. book. So we'll see!
Thanks so much, Cynthea!
The Great Call of China came out in February, so definitely check it out! The whole S.A.S.S. series, in fact, is perfect for when you're in the mood for a light-yet-fun and entertaining summer read. (:

Week in Review!

"Retrospective" was started by Reviewer X
This week was a pretty slow one. I didn't really get any reading or blogging done. It's the end of the year, so my teachers are LOADING. US. DOWN with projects, finals, etc. It's enough to make me scream! Anyway...

Tuesday: Introduced a new contest to help promote a friend's new blog. I'll be giving away an ARC of Hot Mess: Summer in the City, and copies of Celebrity Skin and How To Ditch Your Fairy (just added!), and one person can win them ALL. There's lots of ways to get extra entries, so definitely check it out and enter!

Wednesday: Was going to post my weekly Waiting on Wednesday but ended up being too swamped with studying and homework. ):

Thursday: Posted an interview with the awesome Alexa Young. There's an upcoming contest in which I'll be giving away both of her books and some Faketastic swag, so keep your eyes peeled!

Sunday: Would have posted "In My Mailbox", but I was too lazy (OK, OK, I was going shoe shopping). Anyway, I got Exclusively Chloe by JA Yang in the mail last week for a Traveling to Teens blog tour I'm really excited to be participating in. 
Reader of the Week: 
....Is Kate, who is always commenting on my posts and being really sweet and nice and who has an amazing blog herself! Thanks, Kate! 

Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Interview with Alexa Young

OK, OK, I know it's not Monday, when I post my normal weekly author interview, but we can pretend. (:

This week's muse: Alexa Young
Author of: Frenemies (review here) and Faketastic (review here)
Bookworm: Welcome, Alexa! To start off, tell us: Do you think that you're more like Halley or Avalon, the two "frenemies" that your books revolve around? Explain why/why not.
Alexa: I'm sort of a mix of the two. I'm probably a bit more like Avalon (yes, the more annoying of the two protagonists!) in the sense that she's a type-A control freak Capricorn with an insecure streak--someone who has to work really hard for everything and who is constantly learning lessons from her mistakes. But I'm also drawn to arts and creativity (and cute boys in bands)--and I was a total late-bloomer, like Halley.

Bookworm: Have you ever had a frenemy? 
Alexa: Yes, unfortunately I've had quite a few frenemies. One of the issues that's come up a couple times is the sort of jealousy that can occur when a good friend pursues other interests or starts becoming close with someone else (another friends or a new boyfriend, etc). That tends to shake the foundation of a relationship and brings up some insecurities--just like it does if a significant other starts checking out (or hanging out with) other people. It's kind of twisted and perhaps a bit silly, but it can be very real and emotionally-charged to see your friend change or even ditch you for someone else. I've also had situations where my best friend and I just drifted apart. In those cases, there wasn't a dramatic end to the relationship or a huge fight,
but there was a distinct feeling that it was time for us to go our separate ways--at least for a while. I have also had one fairly complicated best friendship that's riddled with ups and downs. We push
 each other's buttons and take everything kind of personally. We even broke up for a while last year-but we made up and still love each other as much as ever. For now. ;-) See? You're never too old to be dysfunctional!

Bookworm: Halley and Avalon are both pretty fashion-obsessed. Do you think you love
 fashion as much as the frenemies?
Alexa: I don't think ANYONE loves fashion as much as the frenemies. I do like fashion magazines and shopping and wish I could afford all the fancy, high-end stuff (and wish I could fit into it!)--but I'm way more of a comfy-clothes-from-Target (or Gap) kind of girl.

Bookworm: Boots or heels?
Alexa: Boots...with heels. But they have to be thick heels, and no more than 2 or 3 inches. I can't do spiked anything anymore. Shoes shouldn't (and don't need to) be painful to look good. Plus, I'm 5'8", so I don't need to add that much more height. 

Bookworm: Lipstick or lip gloss?
Alexa: Lip gloss. I rarely, if ever, wear lipstick. I think because I have a bit of, um, a large nose, lipstick tends to make me look like a drag queen. 

Bookworm: Favorite article of clothing?
Alexa: Anything black--but especially a black hoodie. It's such a running joke with everyone I know since I'm practically always wearing one. I've got about twelve of them. A friend of mine even got a little child-sized one for my son for his first birthday so we could match. :)

Bookworm: Heehee! Will you give us a sneak peek of what's going to go down between the two ex-BFFs in Glamnesia, the third book in the series?
Alexa: Absolutely! It's my favorite book in the series so far. The girls go up to Los Angeles for Fashion Week and wind up living out a bit of a Project Runway-style life, complete with crazy fashion designers and a scandalous love interest. In spite of all the competition that crops up between them, it might just wind up bringing them closer together....or will it tear them further apart (?!).

Bookworm: Oooh, sounds amazing! Now I'm so excited!!!! Do you think that the series is going to extend past Glamnesia?
Alexa: Yes. I'm about to start working on the outline for a fourth and final book. I've been thinking about titles and plot details, but I need to talk it all through with my editors before I dive in.

Bookworm: What do you do when you're not writing?
Alexa: I spend way too much time surfing the internet and reading about celebrity scandals. I also love guilty-pleasure TV like American Idol, Gossip Girl and the new 90210. I have a three-year-old son (a really fun age!), and he goes to preschool three days a week while I work--but I'm always doing things with him on the days he's not in school, like playing in our hot tub (we keep it cool so it's more like a mini swimming pool) and going to the zoo or the playground. My husband I also like to cook and we barbecue A LOT! 
Thanks so much for stopping by, Alexa! 
Check out Alexa's blog Alexicon here. I'm also getting a real kick out her new blog: WORST. REVIEW. EVER, where author share the worst review their book has gotten!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Follow and Win!

   Hi guys. It's just me, spreading the book-blogger love. Keep on reading, because there's a 3-book contest involved. (:
   So, one of my BFFs recently started her own book blog named Chicklita Reads. She has some great reviews and wants to begin receiving review copies and interviewing authors. Anyway, she's been feeling frustrated lately about her lack of readers, and it would really brighten her day if you stopped by and checked it out or commented on some of her reviews (which mostly focus on the lighter side of teen lit).
   So I'm having a little contest to help promote a friend's blog. Plus you could WIN, which is always fun, too. (: Consider this the Girl-Power Giveaway! Here's what you could win:

- An ARC of Hot Mess: Summer in the City by Julie Kraut and Shallon Lester
- A copy of Celebrity Skin by Liane Bonin
- Edit: A copy of How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
Here's how to enter:
Simply comment below with your email address so we can contact you if you win!
Extra entries:
+5 for following Chicklita Reads
+2 for posting a link to Chicklita on your blog
+2 for posting a link to this contest
+1 for posting a comment on any of the Chicklita reviews

....That's up to ten extra entries! Good luck! The winner for the two books will be announced on Monday, June 1.
Reminder: Either enter here or at Chicklita, but not at both blogs, please!

Edit: For the sake of Chicklita's and my wallets, please no international entries! Sorry, overseas friends. ): maybe next time!

~~ Contest closed. Congrats, Marie! (:  ~~

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Week in Review

"Retrospective" was created by Steph from Reviewer X
I was sick this whole week, which stunk, but at least I got some good reading done!

Monday: I finished and reviewed Much Ado About Anne by Heather Vogel Frederick

Wednesday: I posted a list of books that have priority in my TBR pile, as well as my weekly "Waiting on Wednesday" post. This week, I chose Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker, which came out on Wednesday as well!

Thursday: I tried to catch up on all my homework. Instead, I watched What Not to Wear reruns and ate peach Jell-O (which was odd but actually tasted OK). 

Saturday: I posted a review for Donna Freitas' The Possibilities of Sainthood. If you haven't checked that book out, definitely do so. It was fantastic!

Sunday (today): I published my weekly "In My Mailbox" post (as well as this one!), started Death by Denim by Linda Gerber, and went to yoga with my mom. Love you, Mom! (: Happy Mother's Day!

This week's recognized visitor (stolen from Mrs. Magoo) is Insert Book Title Here. She always makes such thoughtful and lovely comments, and her blog rocks, too!

In My Mailbox

  Inspired by Alea, memefied by Kristi of the Story Siren!
  Last week, I was incredibly lazy and didn't do an IMM post, so I decided to combine last week's books with this week's:

From Random House:

- Breathless by Lurlene McDaniel
I've heard of this author before, but I've never read any of her books. This one looks really good, though!
- Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
I haven't read the first book, Stargirl, but I've always wanted to. I just love the simple, cute covers of these books, though, don't you?
- 30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks and BFFs by Clea Hantman
I've flipped through this one a few times and it's very cute, with pink-and-brown pages and lots of fun tips and stuff. Watch for a review coming soon!
- The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
Yet another series I haven't read! I've heard so much about these books, though, that I'll definitely be checking the first one out of the library once I've eaten through most of my TBR pile. This book is huge--more than 800 pages!
- If The Witness Lied by Caroline Cooney
This sounds like a fast-paced mystery that I'll save for a rainy day. I read The Face on the Milk Carton by the same author, and really liked it--hopefully this one will be as good!

For review:
Donut Days by Laura Zielin
This is probably the biggest ARC I have ever seen--it's like this really big manuscript! I am so excited to read this book (it comes out in August). I just love the cover, and Laura is super-nice: she even sent me Dunkin' Donuts coupons! Thanks, Laura!

From Kristi:
Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
I won this in a contest and I'm so excited to read it! I actually have only read one of Lauren's books before, and it was just OK. But this one sounds really great. I especially love the cover--SO simple and fun and adorable!

From the library:

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
One word: YAY! I love the cover of this one, and I've heard so much good feedback about it (and about Elizabeth Scott, in general) that I'm so happy to begin!

From Barnes & Noble:

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
Yayayayayayay! I am so excited to begin this one because:
a) I love Jen Calonita
b) I love camp books
c) I'm in need of a big dose of summer fun!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Possibilities of Sainthood

Title: The Possibilities of Sainthood
Author: Donna Freitas
Pages: 272
Published by: Frances Foster Books, 2008
Genre: Realistic fiction
Recommended to: Readers 12 and older
Cover: A-
Overall Grade: A

   Fifteen-year-old Catholic Rhode Island schoolgirl Antonia Lucia Labella has two wishes: her first is for Andy Rotellini, the "love of her life", to notice her and maybe, possibly, kiss her (her first real kiss!). Too bad that they only time they come in contact is when he's working at the Labella family market, where the only thing they talk about is canned tomatoes and produce displays (her strict Italian mother is always getting in the way). And then there's the factor of Michael, Antonia's childhood "friend", who she'sbeen  feeling confused around lately....Her second wish is to become a saint, which may be even more difficult to pursue than the boy problem (seeing as she'd be the first living saint in Catholic history). Every year, Antonia starts a new "saint diary", filled to the brim with petitions to the saints she often prays to, letters she sends to the Vatican, and ideas for her specialization (that include the Patron Saint of Figs, Patron Saint of People Who Make Pasta, and the Patron Saint of the First Kiss and Kissing, all which she has humbly nominated herself for). What's a girl to do? O, Madonna.
    This book, to me, was as close to perfect as possible. The plotline was fairly simple, but I loved how unique it was. I mean, a book about a girl yearning to be a saint? How many of those have you seen? A first, I was expecting Possibilities to be a bit dull, with all the religion plot threads. After all, how interesting could a book about a saint-loving girl be? It turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable read, though: the characters that Ms. Freitas injected into her novel just jazzed up the whole plot, and, to those concerned, don't worry about the whole "religion" aspect. Being nonreligious myself, I found it to not at all block out the rest of the clever plot. My favorite character, of course, was Antonia. She was frank, funny, refreshing, smart, and an ideal main character. I loved her crazy-big Italian family (yes, even the evil cousin, Veronica and the stereotype of Antonia's overprotective mother), and while I was reading, I felt like I was part of the Labellas. This book just gives its reader that warm, welcome glow: the book was so addicting that I couldn't put it down. 
   I also appreciated how realistic it was. The characters were all like people I've known, the plot had twists and turns, and conflicts.
   I just really didn't like how predictable the book was in the end: *spoiler* Of course Antonia was going to really fall for Michael. Of course she would realize that Andy was a jerk. *end spoiler*. That just kind of bothered me how cheesy and sweet the last part of the novel was. Even though the conclusion of the book was obvious, I still love, love, loved Possibilities. If I could, I would go on for hours about how I felt sucked into the story, like I could picture everything about it in my mind: Labella's market, Michael's green-blue eyes, Holy Angels School, Antonia's best friend Maria, Antonia herself (the girl on the cover was actually how I pictured her the whole time!)....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

   Sunny days, late nights and a vacation full of possibilities...This is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas, for a musical internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts--and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she's stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name "Party Penny". Their personalities clash, big time. But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can't Quinn keep her mind off Penny's friend--cute, All-American Russ and his Texas twang? One thing's certain: Quinn's in for a summer she'll never forget.

Wait no longer! Lovestruck Summer came out today. I know I'll definitely be making a bookstore dash this weekend....Happy release day, Melissa!


...Yes, I have a pile of books that are at the top of my priority list reading-wise. These are books that are nearly due at the library, ARCs that are being published soon, books i need to mail to people after reading them (ahem Karin Perry.....sorry)....You get it. Here's what my TBR ASAP pile is looking like right now:

- Death by Denim by Linda Gerber (comes out May 14)
- The Real Real by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus (comes out May 19)
- The Writing on the Wall by Wendy Lichtman (just because I've had it forever!)
- Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (almost due back at the library)
- Lipstick Apology (I PROMISE I'll try to finish it this week, Karin! Yikes...)
- TMI by Sarah Quigley (came out April 16)
   I also wanted to thank authors and publishers because I've taken forever to read and review their books that they so kindly, generously sent me a LONG time ago. That means you, Jody Gehrman, Katie Davis, Julie Bowe, Diana Rodriguez Wallach, Justina Chen Headley, Teri Brown, Karen Day, Lisa Yee, Micol Ostow, and Stephenie Kuehnert (Erica Feldman, too). I've been so dang busy with school, etc.
    And I always try to review an ARC just before or just after it gets published, but sometimes I fall short (like for TMI). It's not because I don't care or because I don't like your book. It's because I'm so busy, which I wish I weren't. But this summer, I'm planning on reading and reviewing a whole lot more. I just wanted to let you know that your well-deserved reviews are on their way!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Much Ado About Anne

Title: Much Ado About Anne
Author: Heather Vogel Frederick
Pages: 324
Published by: Simon & Schuster, 2008
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Recommended to: Middle grade girls
Cover: A
Overall Score: A-

   Last year, the Mother-Daughter Book Club began: best friends Cassidy, Megan, Emma, Jess, and their mothers read Little Women, made new friendships, suffered losses, and experienced adventures. This year, the girls are back, and this time, the chosen book (LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables) isn't the only thing new to the club: the moms have decided to welcome a new member. Much to the horror of the girls, their latest addition is snooty Becca Chadwick, known for making fun of Emma and her weight, and her overprotective mother. But Becca's pranks aren't the only problem that the girls of the Club have on their hands: Jess's family might be losing their beloved ranch, Half Moon Farm, and they're determined to save it. Combine that with a disastrous tea party, a fashion show, a new boyfriend for Cassidy's mom , crushes, a skating party gone wrong, a fight among the girls, and a mother-daughter camping trip, and it's certain that this year's going to be one to remember...
   When I read The Mother-Daughter Book Club a year or two ago, I was so pleased with how Ms. Frederick put so much warmth and creativity into her book. This also carried over into the second book in the series. From start to finish, Much Ado About Anne is one of those books that makes you feel warm inside. One of my favorite things about these books is that the author just welcomes you into the story, inviting you to follow the characters, laugh along with the humor, and makes you feel like you're part of the club. The story was deliciously modern, simple, and fun, moving quickly but without skimping on details or ever being boring. The dialogue was clear and realistic, and I really liked how there was an altering narration, so you got to sample each character's voice. I was worried about how the plot would be fresh from the first book, but there was no need to: the whole Half Moon Farm/Becca Chadwick crises brought along plenty of entertainment, along with all the usual book club escapades and adventures. In fact, I'm hoping there might be a possible third book in the series--I don't want to say goodbye to these characters quite yet. 
   In a nutshell, Much Ado About Anne is a feel-good novel of friendship that's perfect for a rainy day when you just want to curl up with a cup of cocoa and read something that will make you happy. 

PS. I just love that adorable cover, don't you? (:

Click here for a review of the first book, The Mother Daughter Book Club