Friday, April 30, 2010

Gimme A Call


Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Pages: 301
Published: April 27 2010, Delacorte Press
Genre: Contemporary fiction/Fantasy
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: B

Devi's made a lot of mistakes in the past 3 1/2 years of high school: including ever falling for Bryan Sanderson. She let her grades drop, friendships fade, and now that Bryan broke up with her, she has nothing left. But after dropping her cell phone in the mall fountain, it only calls one number: her number, at age fourteen! Now Devi can manipulate her past to make for a better future--with Freshman Devi on her side, she can get into a better college, get back together with her friends, and forget all about Bryan. Freshman Devi likes Bryan--she's happy. But Senior Devi is her future: she has to be right, right?
My thoughts: I love, love, love Sarah Mlynowski's Magic in Manhattan series, so I was thrilled when I heard that she was writing a new book in the YA genre that sounded so funny and unique.
Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with Gimme A Call. The book had a very fun, interesting plot: Freshman Devi was fabulous! She was spunky, skeptical, and strong. I loved her relationship with Senior Devi--even though they were the same person, they totally had different personalities and views on the world. But Senior Devi annoyed me, frankly. She worked 14 year old Devi to pieces and was too bossy and lazy to get up and change her own future. It was a bit irritating reading about her screw-ups after a while. As well, the whole past-present Devi aspect was really confusing. I had to reread a lot to see how what little Devi did affected big Devi.
The ending was confusing as well--I really think this book could've used one more chapter to even things out with a little more explanation. I was left hanging in a bit of a confused state.
However, I really liked the narration of this book: both Devi's were honest and humorous, and I loved seeing how freshman Devi could so radically change senior Devi's world. I couldn't put the book down--amidst the confusion, I really liked Devi and wanted to see what happened in the end! With a good underlying message, readers will be able to relate to and sympathize with Devi and her crazy world--but this isn't Sarah Mlynowski's best.

Must-Read! Check it Out! Don't Bother

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I So Don't Do Makeup


Author: Barrie Summy
Pages: 288
Published: May 11 2010, Delacorte Press
Genre: Mystery
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A

Sherry Holmes Baldwin isn't looking for another mystery to solve. After all, she's perfectly content the way she is--her boyfriend of two months, Josh, is as adorable as ever; her ghost mother is rising up in the ranks of the Academy of Spirits, and she's throwing the coolest makeover-packed sleepover ever at her house. But when the girls wake up with serious skin problems, Sherry detects something fishy: someone's been tampering with the cosmetics at the cute new makeup kiosk at the mall, and Sherry's going to have to go undercover. With the help of her BFF, Sherry might just crack the case--but first, she's going to have to say "I SO don't do makeup"!
My thoughts: Honestly, I was scared going into I SO Don't Do Makeup. The first two books, I SO Don't Do Mysteries and I SO Don't Do Spooky, were both so great that I didn't know how it was possible to follow them up with yet another kick-butt mystery. Luckily, the ever-awesome Barrie Summy made it possible.
I LOVE Sherry. She is so quirky, funny, and relatable. Ms. Summy has Sherry's age group down--her narration sounded like you typical makeup-obsessed, boy-crazy seventh grader. I loved all of her crazy plots and plans, and her narration had me totally hooked in--I felt like she was talking straight to me. I also appreciated all the twists and turns in the plot. They had me glued to the edge of my seat, and the secondary characters like the Janes and all of the crazy suspects simply spiced the plot up. Of course, I loved the surprise ending! I was so shocked when I realized who the culprit was--it was fabulous!
Sherry's mom also gave the plot a unique aspect--not only was it a mystery, but the ghost academy gave the story a little edge of fantasy (not to mention serious humor).
Once again, another great mystery from Barrie Summy that preteen girls will love--now I can't wait to see what Sherry's up to in the next book, I SO Don't Do Famous (coming May 2011)!

Must Read! Check it Out!!!! Don't Bother

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I SO Don't Do Makeup trailer

Hey, guys! Remember my trailer for Barrie Summy's I SO Don't Do Spooky (December 2009)? Well, since I'm a big fan of the books, and since the 3rd book I SO Don't Do Makeup comes out on May 11 (expect a review super-soon!), I decided to make a new trailer!

video

Check out my YouTube channel here.

Authors, if you'd like a custom trailer for your YA/MG book, feel free to contact me!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Teen Vogue Handbook


Pages: 257
Published:
Razorbill, 2009

Have you always dreamed of modeling? Do you hope to have a future in fashion design? Is photography your passion? If you're interested in a career in fashion (covering everything from stylists to magazine editors), The Teen Vogue Handbook is your go-to guide! Going in-depth via interviews and glossy spreads of photographs, it describes exactly how you can pursue your fashion dreams--providing advice, resources, and inspiration.
Being a huge fan of the magazine, I was expecting a big 257-page issue out of the handbook. Instead, the book is the perfect resource for the fashion-obsessed. Divided into 7 sections, the handbook goes into great detail.
Section 1, the "designer" part, is chock-full of photographs and interviews with top designers (Thakoon, Tory Burch, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, etc) on how they achieved their goals in the fashion industry. I loved reading all the success stories--the designers provided helpful tips, as well as mistakes not to make in the industry!
The second section of the handbook, "editors", describes the lives and work of those in the fashion magazine world: what editors do, what an average day is like for a fashion director, how a fashion market editor contributes to "the book". A very insightful look into the world not many of us see--that magazine you read each month is the result of hard work!
The "stylists" and "beauty" sections were enlightening--I loved seeing how their contributions affect the overall image in a magazine. As well as this, I especially liked the "models" section--it was interesting to see how they were selected, what talent scouts are looking for, and just exactly how tall you have to be to make a good model (5'9"-5'11" for women). I also enjoyed reading supermodel Chanel Iman's fashion week diary--it was super cool seeing what a day in the life of a busy model is like!
My favorite section was perhaps the photography section--maybe one of the most important professions in the fashion business. It is truly amazing to see how fashion photographers can portray a certain message about clothing through their pictures.
Overall, this Handbook is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the business. Packed chock full with examples, interesting graphics, pictures, and feedback, (all perfectly aimed at and appealing to teenagers) the only way that I think the book (complete with an index of fashion terms and design schools) could be improved is if it had a longer section about fashion bloggers. Fashion bloggers, like Jane of Sea of Shoes or English Rose are an important part of the fashion/style world these days--I want to see more of them!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Monday Muse: Interview with Rachelle Knight


Today's muse: Rachelle Rogers Knight
(Part II of Traveling to Teens book tour)
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Bookworm: Welcome, Rachelle! To start, what was the inspiration behind Read, Remember, Recommend?
Rachelle: My inspiration for creating the journal came from a cluttered purse full of reading suggestions on scraps of paper--a lot of which were books I learned about from following award and notable lists. When I set out to buy a journal to keep these suggestions organized, nothing existed that provided the awards and notable lists nor places to keep track of everything I wanted to buy and recommend to others. In addition, as a book club member, I was always looking for ways to keep my thoughts and discussion points about reading available for discussing. The Read, Remember, Recommend journal was the marriage of both needs.

Bookworm: Did you enjoy reading as a teenager?
Rachelle: Yes! When my sister and I were 15 (we are twins) and had a whole boring summer ahead of us, my mom had a great idea to help entertain us (both of my parents worked fulltime). She took us to our local bookstore once a week and would buy us anything we promised we would read. That summer I discovered Stephen King. Now, I would not advocate King for most 15 year olds, and my two little boys will not be introduced to him (by me) until they are 25 (hehe), but I was hooked. My sister, who chose teen romances, and I would sit on our patio for hours, completely absorbed. She, lost in a western with a teen heroine, and me scared out of my seat by a clown in It. For a budding reader, it doesn't get any better than lots of time and lots of books!

Bookworm: How long did it take you to put the book together and become published?
Rachelle: The first edition of my fiction journal took me almost a year to complete. I published for the first time through a publishing company I started called Bibliopages. The first journal was released in 2007. My teen journal was also published by Bibliopages in 2008. I signed on with Sourcebooks early last year (2009) and new editions of both journals were released April 1, 2010. So, the journey from my idea to being a published author with a national publishing company has taken three years. What a fun, crazy adventure it has been!

Bookworm: What was the last book you read and loved?
Rachelle: The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle. Even though this is an adult fiction book, I think it would be a great read for older teens.

Bookworm: How do you keep track of all the books that you read?
Rachelle: With my journals. Even if I don't write a journal section about each book, I always mark the author, title, and dates. Otherwise, I wouldn't remember what I read last week!

Bookworm: What is your one top for teens who want to be authors?
Rachelle: Get as much feedback as possible without dashing your enthusiasm. On the internet, there are a lot of sites dedicated and focused on helping teen writers. In addition, many offer avenues for them to show their work and get their work critiqued. Take advantage of these. I think it is hard at first to take any sort of criticism on something you have created. Start slow with introducing your writing to others until you are comfortable with not only sharing, but can accept comments without them affecting how you feel about your work. Newly forming ideas are fragile and until they are solid, can easily be squelched if you aren't prepared for any feedback that isn't stellar.

Bookworm: What do you enjoy when you're not reading and writing?
Rachelle: I love to go out to dinner (can that be a hobby?), garden, travel, bird watch, go to movies with my husband, and walk my big, sloppy dogs.

Bookworm: What can't you leave the house without?
Rachelle: My kids! I have 3 and 5 year old little boys who are with me continually. I feel lost without them!
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Thanks so much, Rachelle!
Visit Rachelle online here at her website Bibliobabe
Enter to win a copy of Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens here!
(Learn more about Traveling to Teens here)

Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens Review & Contest

Title: Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens
Author: Rachelle Rogers Knight
Pages: 343
Published: Sourcebooks, 2010
Overall Grade: A
Source: Traveling to Teens book tour

I've never heard of a book journal before, so I didn't know what to think when I opened Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens. Divided into 6 carefully laid-out, organized sections, Read, Remember, Recommend is the perfect place to keep track of all your bookish endeavors.
The first section, "Awards and Notable Lists", is packed chock-full with reading recommendations--everything from young adult National Book Award winners to statewide best books. Catalogued by genre, year, author, and recommended age group, the Awards & Notable Lists section also gave space by each title to check it off as either "own", "recommend", "to read", or "want".
"To Read" gives space to write down books that you want to read, while the third section, "Journal Pages", provides space to record everything that you've read (including "words to define", "recommend?", and "passages to remember".
Next, the "Recommendations" section can be used to track down books that you'd recommend to friends, and "Loaner Lists" helps you keep track of books and dates that you let others borrow (perfect for me, as I'm always losing books to friends!).
Lastly, "Resources" provides an ample list of author websites, blogs (including Bookworm Readers!!), and literary terms for further research--this would come in handy for book reports!
Not only helpful to teachers, bloggers, and people in book clubs, Read, Recommend is the ideal book journal for everyone who loves to read--and to have one specialized in YA is just a cherry on top!
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Interested in winning a copy of your own?
Enter to win here! The contest ends on May 10, so enter, enter, enter!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet


Author: Erin Dionne
Pages: 285
Published: Dial, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Cover Score: A-
Overall Grade: A

Eighth grade isn't going too well for Hamlet Kennedy. Stuck with a less-than-average name, ultra-eccentric Shakespearean scholar parents (who can be seen in public wearing full Renissance Faire regalia), and a genius 7-year old little sister that will be attending middle school with her, Hamlet has a tough time fitting in. School gets worse when Hamlet learns that her English class with be doing an in-depth Shakespeare unit, and on top of that, she's failing pre-algebra, has a not-so-special talent, and someone is hiding origami pigs in her locker. Will Hamlet's eighth grade year be a total tragedy--or will it deserve a standing ovation?
My thoughts: People, let's give Hamlet Kennedy a round of applause. To start, let me just say that I love, love, loved Hamlet. She was clever, funny, honest, and totally lovable. I felt like I could sympathize for her--her life was utterly crazy, but she was never whiny and felt like a very realistic character that I'd love to have as a friend. I also adored the rest of Ham's family--her parents, with their lovable quirkiness, simply spiced up an otherwise straightforward plot and made the story so unique. As did Desdemona ("Dezzie"), Hamlet's little genius sister: her funny speech made me laugh out loud--she was so unique and hilarious!
The book had a nice flow, and was unlike anything I'd ever read before. There were lots of different aspects of the plot that made it continuously interesting, and I was pleased to see how everything neatly worked out in the end. I felt totally involved in the well-written story--I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened to Dezzie's school problems and Ham's secret admirer! I liked Erin Dionne's first novel, Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies, OK, but I loved this one.
Perfect for the middle-grade set, The Total Tragedy has me wanting more of Hamlet!

Must-Read! Check it Out Don't Bother

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mini-Reviews



Twilight: The Graphic Novel
By Stephenie Meyer & Young Kim
2010, Yen Press
Age Range: Readers, 12 & up
Overall Grade: B-

I'm not a big Twillight fan but I love graphic novels so I thought, why not? Young Kim's illustrations brought the story to life. The illustrations looked lifelike, and every picture was precise and beautiful. I especially loved Edward--the way he was drawn perfectly captured his character in the book. I think this novella would be improved if the pictures were all in color (the black-and-white graphics blurred into one blob after a while), and if the ending weren't so abrupt. I know that the whole book couldn't have been transferred into just one graphic novel, but this first volume only covered about a quarter of the book--there was no action whatsoever, and I think fans would be disappointed by the high price ($19.99) and lack of developed storyline. Unless you're a devoted Twilighter, than I think this one can be skipped--or, if you're interested, get it from the library. Check out a sample of the artwork here

By Micol Ostow
193 pages
Simon & Schuster, 2009
Age Range: 14 & up
Overall Grade: B+

GoldenGirl was definitely a light read: you've got the bitchy girls, the money, the secrets and scandals, the exclusive prep school...Imagine Gossip Girl with a bit more depth, less trash, and better writing. I've got to say, I love nearly everything Micol Ostow writes, and this was no exception--the blog format gave the book a fresh feel, and the drama kept me at the edge of my seat. I wouldn't recommend it if you were looking for a serious read, but lots of cattiness and secrets all the same add up to an entertaining, quick, can't-put-it-down-yet read.

by Karen Day
205 pages
Wendy Lamb Books, 2008
Age Range: 12 & up
Grade: A-

This book combines history and athletics and makes one perfect book for middle-grade readers. A must-have for any library, No Cream Puffs was full of girl power, and Madison herself was a spunky, relatable character. I loved all of the sports involved in this book--it has plenty of baseball action, but still appeals to girls. Plus, what a great cover!

By Susan McBride
304 pages
Delacorte Press, 2009
Age Range: 14 & up
Overall Grade: B-

More Deb drama is here! I liked the first book pretty well, and this book brought all the old favorites back with more drama, revenge, Texan accents, and poofy gowns. While it wasn't too serious of a read, it was still a little toofluffy for my taste. This may appeal to some girls, but the mean-girliness and catfights were over the top for me. Still, I definitely want to see more of Susan McBride in the YA genre--the quality of the writing was great!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sleepaway Girls


Author: Jen Calonita
Pages: 297
Published: 2009; Little, Brown & Company
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A

Ever since Sam Montgomery's best friend got her first boyfriend, Sam's felt totally ignored. Not looking forward to being a third wheel for the summer, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines, a sleepaway camp in the New York Catskills. But when she arrives at the Pines, it's not all campfires and sing-alongs. Ashley, the queen bee of the camp, has it out for her, being a CIT to a bunch of 6-8 year olds is not as easy as it seems, and flirtatious senior counselor Hunter may ruin Sam's relationship with her friend Cole, who's easy to hang out with and be honest to. Luckily, Sam can depend on her bunkmates and newfound best friends to make the summer special--they call each other the sleepaway girls.
My thoughts: Whether you're going to camp or not, Sleepaway Girls is the perfect summer read. I've always been a fan of Jen Calonita--after I started her first book, Secrets of my Hollywood Life, I couldn't get enough. So when I heard that she was veering away from Hollywood, I had my doubts. Could Sleepaway Girls measure up to her other (amazing) books? Luckily, it was just as good--if not better.
To start, the setting was described perfectly. I felt like I was sitting in the mess hall or lounging on the beach with Sam and her friends the whole time. The events and dialogue were all realistic, and the characters were awesome and well-developed. Cole was so lovable, Sam was so honest and relatable, and Ashley was just evil--I couldn't stand her!!
The book was fast-paced and smooth, and like always, Ms. Calonita kept it light and fun, with a good dose of humor. This book was like eating a s'more--I couldn't get enough! I hope that there are more adventures for Sam and her friends in the future...I want to go back to Whispering Pines soon!

Must-Read! Check it Out Don't Bother

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mailbox Monday

It's been a busy week...lots of good books though!

  • Split by Swati Avasthi (March 9, 2010--Thank you, Random House!)
  • Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens by Rachelle Knight (for a blog tour)
  • The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg (thanks to Sophie of Mrs. Magoo Reads)
  • Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey (June 22, 2010--Many thanks to Walker Books!!)
  • The Total Tragedy of A Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne (from the library)
Also watch for some mini reviews coming this week! Happy reading! (:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Cinderella Society


Author: Kay Cassidy
Pages: 303
Published: Egmont USA, April 13 2010
Genre: Chick-lit
Cover Score: A+
Overall Grade: B+
Source: Author

Jess Parker is fine with being invisible. Constantly moving, she is used to being the one that the mean girl picks on. That's until she moves to Mt. Sterling, Georgia, where she is invited to join the super-secret Cinderella Society, whose job is to protect innocent girls from the mean-girl, power-hungry Wickeds (whose goal is to use regular girls to do their own dirty work), the club's archenemy. Jess is happy to finally fit in--until she realizes that her job isn't just makeovers and catching the attention of her big-time crush. She's part of a centuries-old battle of good and evil, and now the Cindys are depending on her more than ever...
My thoughts: Cute, cute, cute! The Cinderella Society was clever, fun and chock-full of kick-butt girl power. To say it in short, I really liked it! While I wasn't expecting a real serious plot, I found that amongst the makeovers and cheerleading, The Cinderella Society dished out uplifting messages of self-acceptance and sisterhood. It had a deep, interesting plot that went above and beyond your average chick-lit novel, and was entirely unique--I've never seen anything like it before! The characters were well-developed and totally relatable (a major score for all of the girl power and real-life situations!)
However, as said by Yan here (because I couldn't say it any better), there was quite an information overload. I really appreciated how much time Ms. Cassidy put into the book, developing a good, strong background--but all of the Cindy details were really confusing and made the plot complicated to understand. There's a sequel coming out next spring, so I'm hoping that it will move away from all the background info and cut to the action! I was slightly disappointed that we didn't get to see any bigtime Cindy-Wicked action.
Overall, this was a great start for Ms. Cassidy! From the middle onward, I couldn't put the story down, and I can't wait to see what's next for Jess...

Must-Read! Check it Out Don't Bother