Thursday, March 31, 2011

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Here's a blurb from Ms. Zago Rosenthal's website: Ari Mitchell feels invisible at her Brooklyn high school. Her hair is too flat, her style too preppy, and her personality too quiet. And outside school, Ari feels outshined by her beautiful, confident best friend, Summer. Their friendship is as complex and confusing as Ari’s relationship with her troubled older sister, Evelyn, a former teenage mom whose handsome firefighter husband fills Ari’s head with guilty fantasies.

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York—and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari’s family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future. Meanwhile, Summer warns her that what she feels for Blake is just an infatuation. Not real love. But Ari’s world is awash with new colors, filled with a freshness and an excitement she hasn’t felt in years.

When misfortune befalls Blake’s family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?
My Take
It's 1985; the year I graduated.  Ari is struggling to find her niche.  She transfers to an elite prep school and that niche seems even further away.  Then she meets Leigh.  She begins gaining more independence and more confidence.
Then Ari meets Leigh's cousins.  She and Blake tumble head-long into a relationship.  Ari is beginning to think she has found where she belongs.  But things begin to change as the outside world affects them.  Along the way Ari learns what true love is and what it isn't.  She grows so much and is so strong.  This book was a little jewel.  I'm giving it 5 kisses!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman

Here's a blurb from the book's website: In eight days, Coke and Pepsi McDonald are going to turn thirteen.

Before then, they'll jump off a cliff, get trapped in the locked basement of their burning school, chased cross-country by murderous lunatics, left for dead in the pit of a sand dune, forced to decipher mysterious coded messages, thrown into a giant vat of SPAM, and visit the world's largest . . . ball of twine!

There's more, but if we told you here, we'd have to kill you.

Megapopular author Dan Gutman brings on the excitement with an action-packed new series that's nothing short of dynamite. Join Coke and Pep on their quest to uncover just what it means to be part of The Genius Files . . . if you dare!

My Take

I don't read tons of middle-grade books.  I should definitely read more of them, especially if they are as good as this one.  This book was packed with action and all sorts of secret agent antics.

Coke and Pepsi were great characters.  This book is seriously funny.  I found myself laughing quite often.  I enjoyed seeing what would happen next as the twins made their way across the country in the rented Winnebago with their clueless parents.  I'm planning on reading the next in the series to see what happens to these two.  I'm giving this one 5 secret super agent kisses!

Note: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Librarything as part of their early book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, March 21, 2011

When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer

Here's an synop from Ms. Ferrer's website:   A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad’s affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

My Take

I really loved this book.  I liked Soledad's spice, her independence, and her willingness to make herself vulnerable to love someone.  I also loved the fact that she understood there is great strength in making yourself vulnerable. 

I loved her grandmother "Mamacita" who raised her.  She was such a warm, interesting character.  Her love for Soledad so evident.  But her willingness to let her go for her own growth commendable. 

The 'moment it all went wrong', I never saw coming.  I was completely blown away.  It was easy to get engrossed in the world of dance and corps while reading this book.  You felt as though you were living it with the characters sometimes.  This was a lovely book that I would recommend.  I'm giving it 5 precise kisses!

Note:  Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Goodreads as part of their early book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Here's a blurb from Ms. Wealer's website: Meet Brooke: Popular, powerful and hating every minute of it, she’s the “It” girl at Douglas High in Lake Champion, Minnesota. Her real ambition? Using her operatic mezzo as a ticket back to NYC, where her family lived before her dad ran off with an up and coming male movie star.

Now meet Kathryn: An overachieving soprano with an underachieving savings account, she’s been a leper ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. For Kath, music is the key to a much-needed college scholarship.

The stage is set for a high-stakes duet between the two seniors as they prepare for the prestigious Blackmore competition. Brooke and Kathryn work toward the Blackmore with eyes not just on first prize but on one another, each still stinging from a past that started with friendship and ended in betrayal. With competition day nearing, Brooke dreams of escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional singer, but her scheming BFF Chloe has other plans. And when Kathryn gets an unlikely invitation to Homecoming, she suspects Brooke of trying to sabotage her with one last public humiliation.

As pressures mount, Brooke starts to sense that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had. But Kathryn has a decision to make. Can she forgive? Or are some rivalries for life?
My Take
This is one of the books in the Contemps Challenge.  All wonderful books.  I loved this book and I can totally see how girls get caught up in the drama of competition.  I think most never fully intend for things to go very far but it's easy for it to get out of hand.  I loved the fact that the ending wasn't quite as predictable as I would have thought it might be.  Definitely pick this one up and see what you think.  I'm giving it 4 1/2 lovely kisses!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

A short synop from Ms. Despain's website:  *Spoiler Alert* - If you have not read The Dark Divine, this synopsis may contain spoilers.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot—a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel is put in danger—in more ways than one.

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her—not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

My Take

I really enjoyed The Dark Divine (the first book in this series).  I always hope that the sequel and subsequent books will be as good and I kind of hold my breath when I first start reading.   This one definitely was!  I liked this book  so much.  I particularly liked the fact that Grace was stronger and more independent in this book. 

I would absolutely recommend this book.  If you haven't read the first book, I would do that first.  The cover is simply gorgeous!  I can't wait to see what's next for Grace and Daniel.  I'm giving this one 5 smooches!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Girl Who Became A Beatle by Greg Taylor

Here's a bite for the book's goodreads page: She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah!

When Regina Bloomsbury’s band, the Caverns, breaks up, she thinks it’s all over. And then she makes a wish—

“I wish I could be as famous as the Beatles.”

The Beatles are her music idols. The next day, she gets up to find that the Caverns are not just as famous as the Beatles, they have replaced them in history! Regina is living like a rock star, and loving it. There are talk shows, music videos, and live concerts with thousands of screaming fans. And Regina is the star of it all.

But fame is getting the better of Regina, and she has a decision to make. Does she want to replace the Beatles forever?

Here is a rocking novel about the good and the bad of Hollywood, fame, and rock ’n roll.

My Take

I love the Beatles!  I mean I really do LOVE the Beatles!  This book gave me pause to think about what if they had never existed.  Heavy thoughts.  I could imagine there music just hitting the scene now.  I think it would have changed the shape of music over the years, without a doubt.

This book was good.  I found the premise interesting.  I liked Regina as a character.  She came off as real.  I can see her struggles and the whole seduction with fame. 

I had to stop and think about what I would do in that situation.  I like to think I would have done the same, but I can see where quite a few teens wouldn't.  I think it's a nice little read and I liked the love story that went along with it too.  I'm giving this one 4 magical mystery kisses!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

There may be some long pauses between posts

I decided I should post about this so all of the fabulous people who follow my blog aren't wondering what might be going on.  In April I'm having weight loss surgery.  I have back-burnered much of my reading as I try to make some of the changes now that will soon be a necessary part of my daily life.  There will undoubtedly be periods where I have no reviews up.  I appreciate everyones understanding and patience.

I have some posts that will run for a bit.  Things will still be on schedule but they will run out before long.  And I'm actually hoping to get some reading done while I'm off recovering as well.  That and lots of walking, bike riding, well you get the idea.

I'm sure given some time, I'll be back at it and would like to actually have another giveaway before too long.  I will still be around and checking email, etc.  I will also be working to become a slim, healthy chicky. ;o)  I love all my followers and the lovely friends I've made travelling through the blogosphere.  If you're cheering me on, well thanks and I love you even more.  Take care, be healthy, and see you soon.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Here's a blurb from the book's goodreads page: Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for Congress. Everything on the surface of their lives seems Norman Rockwell perfect, but underneath run deep and damaging secrets.

Kaeleigh is the good girl-her father's perfect flower, something she has tried so hard to be since she was nine and he started sexually abusing her. She cuts herself and vomits after every binge, desperate to feel something normal. Raeanne uses painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to numb the pain of not being Daddy's favorite. Both girls must figure out how to become whole, but how can they when their world has been torn to shreds?

Writing in her characteristic narrative poetry style, Ellen Hopkins shows once again how well she knows today's teens and the issues that matter to them.
My Take
Wow, talk about your gritty, heartbreaking, roller coaster of a story.  Ellen Hopkins is the master of novels in verse.  Though the topic may be tragic, her writing is so well crafted.  You're drawn to Kaeleigh and Raeanne.  Their story is gripping.  They're on a run away train of self-destruction and no one seems to notice.
This book will deliver one shocking secret after another.  I would highly recommend this book.  I'm giving it five kisses!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Trapped by Michael Northrop

Here's a bit about the book and a link to Mr. Northrop's site: The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive....

Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision....

My Take

Wow, I mean WOW!  This book was like riveting for me.  I read it all in several hours, during a snow storm nonetheless.  It was intense and thought provoking at the same time.  I liked Scotty, the main character.  He was a genuinely good guy.  His insight into the people trapped with him was interesting as well. 

I did have a couple little nit picky things that I wasn't crazy about.  I was talking to my son about this book and explaining that they didn't have a signal for cell service.  He said, "Interesting because most schools are wired for Wi-Fi these days."  I don't know a whole lot about the technical side of things but thought it interesting too that they couldn't get a signal out or anything at any time.  The last thing was that I wasn't crazy about the loose ends left in the end.  Of course, the author can end his book any way he wants. 

Despite my minor little issues, this book was awesome and one of my fav's so far this year.  Great book to read in a raging snow storm.  I'm giving this one 4 1/2 chilly kisses!

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