Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 15 Books of 2008

This year has been great! I've read so many good books (and a few that were not-s0-good), it was hard to choose 15. I think I've narrowed it down to my favorites that were published in 2008. They are in no particular order, since I've never been able to pick one favorite book.

1. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer*
2. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
3. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare*
4. Paper Towns by John Green*
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins*
6. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen*
7. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott*
8. Model by Cheryl Diamond
9. Death By Bikini by Linda Gerber*
10. Death By Latte by Linda Gerber*
11. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway*
12. Rumors: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen*
13. Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman*
14. Wake by Lisa McMann*
15. How To Build a House by Dana Reinhardt*

* indicates that there is a review.
Review Archives

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Audrey Cuttler was just a normal Southern California girl -- until she broke up with her musician boyfriend, Evan. After the break-up, Evan wrote a song entitled "Audrey, Wait!" with his band The Do Gooders. The song is good, and soon becomes so popular it's on the Billboard Top 100 list. Since Audrey is the subject of the song, she becomes famous. Everyone is asking her for her autograph and paparazzi stalk her like she's an A-list celebrity. Will Audrey's life ever return to normal?

I thought this book was so cute and the idea for it was very original. A lot of bands write songs about break-ups they had and it's interesting to see the point of view of the girl who the song was written about. And since everyone wants to know what it's like to be famous, they can read about Audrey and see her experiences. A lot of people will do anything to be famous, so the fact that Audrey hates it is a nice change from the norm. Actually, sometimes I thought she hated it a little too much. I could see how the paparazzi stalking you could get really annoying, but Audrey starts getting free stuff and still didn't like being famous! Anyway, I liked all the characters, especially Audrey's friend Victoria, who seemed like an interesting person and great friend. After Audrey's break-up with Evan (once again, it was weird reading a book about a guy who has the same name as my younger brother), a new love interest is introduced, James, who has liked Audrey for awhile. Audrey works with him, has never given him a second glance, but suddenly she's in love with him. I just thought it was weird that she would work with him, never talk to him, and then start liking him. But I guess it's because she was dating Evan. Oh well, I still thought it was kinda random. Even so, this is a good book for fans of music or anyone looking for a fun read.

7 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Birthday Books!

Today is my birthday and I turned 17. Now I can see rated R movies and sing along to songs like "Dancing Queen" by Abba and "Seventeen Forever" by Metro Station. But I didn't come on here to tell everyone it's my b-day, I wanted to share with you the books I got today : ).

Breathe My Name by R. A. Nelson
Life should be sweet for Frances Robinson. She has a quirky best friend, lives in a McMansion with a loving, adopted family, and has just met a dreamy guy from Louisiana, Nix, who is as charming and exotic as an evening on the bayou.So why is she terrified of ambulances screaming in the night? And what makes her so uneasy about the coming of spring?Frances has a secret—the most terrifying secret in the world. A secret that has haunted her for eleven years: her birth mother, Afton Jelks.Afton is the mother who laughed, sang, and made up stories for Frances and her sisters Tan, Ninny, and Suddle when they lived in Fireless. A place that allowed their mother to lead them deeper and deeper into darkness, until one horrific morning Fireless overtook the real world, and Afton smothered her children one by one. Only Frances survived. Now that Afton is free from prison, Frances’ secret horror threatens to rip her happy world apart. She has one chance to win her life back: she decides to accept Afton’s twisted invitation to meet. She and Nix embark on a clandestine journey to confront the monster in its lair. This is a trip that will help Frances at last find peace . . . or die trying. But no matter what happens, Frances will discover just what it means to finish.

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
It is summer in the Northwest town of Nine Mile Falls, and sixteen-year-old Ruby McQueen, ordinarily dubbed The Quiet Girl, finds herself hanging out with gorgeous, rich, thrill-seeking Travis Becker. But Ruby is in over her head, and finds she is risking more and more when she's with him. In an effort to keep Ruby occupied, Ruby's mother Ann drags Ruby to the weekly book club she runs. When it is discovered that one of the group''s own members is the subject of the tragic love story they are reading, Ann and Ruby spearhead a reunion between the long-ago lovers. But for Ruby, this mission turns out to be much more than just a road trip....

Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita

What if... Your picture was taped inside lockers across America, your closets were bursting with designer clothing, and the tabloids constantly asked whether you were losing your "good girl" status? It's a glamorous life, but Kaitlin Burke, co-star of one of the hottest shows on TV, is exhausted from the pressures of her fame. So she decides to spend a few months undercover as an ordinary high school student. But could it be that real-life high school is just as harsh as cutthroat Hollywood...? Combining the vicarious star-studded glamour of the bestselling A-List series with the innocence of The Princess Diaries, this is an engrossing look behind the velvet curtains of stardom.

I'm so excited to start reading these books! In other news, The King's Rose finally came in the mail today so that was another plus. And the Twilight Saga Official Guide was released today, something I'm hoping to buy

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan

Sarah can see people's secrets in an ordinary crystal paperweight. Too bad they still believe in witches in Pine Crest. And they don't like them at all. Sarah is about to relive a horrible ordeal that happened hundreds of years ago--unless she can undo a terrible wrong.

I usually write the summary myself, but I thought the summary on the back sounded so mysterious and spooky. Don't worry, though, I'll give my own summary, too:

Sarah has just (unwillingly) moved to Pine Crest, Missouri, with her lovesick mother who is following her new boyfriend. Never mind that Ted is still legally married, Sarah's mother has been swept off her feet by this overbearing and contemptuous man. Obviously, Sarah and her mother are not welcomed with open arms into this tight-knit, and extremely conservative, community. So Sarah agrees to read fortunes at a Halloween carnival to make some friends, and she begins to see things in crystal paperweight her mother gave her. Things that come true. When Sarah starts a fortune telling business with two kids from school, people start to believe she's a witch. And that could have deadly consequences in a town like Pine Crest.

If you like thrillers and supernatural type books, you definitely have to read Lois Duncan. Most people have never heard of her, but she wrote the book I Know What You Did Last Summer, which was later turned into a movie. (By the way, the book is a lot better. Just saying.) Her books are like Goosebumps for teens, but instead of vampires and mummies, she uses themes like reincarnation and immortality. So her books are really good. And Gallows Hill was no exception. It was so suspenseful, I didn't want to stop reading. The book was a lot like the Salem Witch Trials, where everyone started accusing people of being witches for riduculous reasons. But I don't want to give anything away, so you'll just have to read it to find out what happens.

8 out of 10.

The Brothers Torres by Coert Voorhees

Frankie Towers has always looked up to his older brother Steve. Steve is popular, great at soccer, and has even earned the respect of the local cholos. Frankie isn't as popular and spends his time setting off fireworks with Zach or trying to get the attention of his crush Rebecca. But when Frankie gets into a fight with John Dalton, the richest boy in school, things began to change. Steve takes him under his wing, and Rebecca agrees to go to Homecoming with him. Things are starting to look up, until Steve and Dalton get into another fight, and Frankie starts to think that Steve is taking the respect thing a little too far.

I really liked this book. I don't read many books where the protagonist is male, so this was a nice change. I enjoyed reading about the setting, which was a town in New Mexico because it's a lot different than where I live. Since I don't live in the Southwest, there really isn't any Mexican influences. There was a lot of references to Mexican culture, mainly regarding food, so that was really interesting. There was even some Spanish thrown in there, so I could test my language skills. As for characters, I liked Frankie a lot. He seemed like a good guy, trying to do the right thing. His brother, Steve, not so much. Steve put on this facade that he was popular and nice, but he did some nasty things. If anyone's ever read Tangerine by Edward Bloor (and if you haven't, go read it!), Steve is similar to Paul's older brother, Erik. But this time, Steve actually changes his ways for the better, unlike Erik. At some points the book got a little boring since there wasn't all that much going on plotwise, it was still a nice coming of age story with interesting characters.

7 out of 10.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What's Up With Barnes & Noble?

I got a giftcard to Barnes & Noble for Christmas and wanted to knock off some of the books on my To Read list, so today I headed to the bookstore. I need to buy The Elite by Jennifter Banash, because I got In Too Deep from Flamingnet and I can't read the sequel without reading the first book. So I went to the Teen section and I can't find the book. I looked around for some of the other books I want and can't find them either. I went to the customer service and had the employee look up The Elite.

"Sorry," she said, "We don't have it in stock, but we can order it for you."
How about The Violet Series by Melissa Walker? I ask.
"No, we don't have it, but we can order it for you."
Ok, do you have any books by Elizabeth Scott? I ask again, starting to get annoyed.
"Which ones are you looking for?" she asked.
Living Dead Girl and Stealing Heaven, I answer.
"We only have Perfect You and Bloom in stock."
I already read those. Ok, thanks for your time.

I'm still completely amazed by the fact that Barnes & Noble didn't have any of the books I wanted. What is the world coming to?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot

Nicola Sparks, sixteen and an orphan, has just finished up her schooling and is ready to begin her London season. Residing with the Bartholomew's, she's hoping to catch the eye of the "god" Lord Sebastian Bartholomew, complete with good looks and a love of poetry. Although, it would be nice if her best friend's brother Nathaniel Sheridan would mind his own business and stop spreading rumors about Sebastian. But when Nicola finds out that Nathaniel's insinuations are true, she realizes she might have had the wrong viscount all along.

This book was so cute. I've never read a historical romance by Meg Cabot but she did a great job. Everything seemed well-researched and well-written, as always. Now that I've read a lot of Meg Cabot's work, I'm starting to see some recurring themes. The protagonist always falls in love, it seems, with her best friend's older brother. And she always denies that fact until the end of the book. I remember this happening in The Princess Diaries. But besides that, I thought the romance was nice and there was even a bit of action at the end that I was not expecting.
7 out of 10.

Shelter Me by Alex McAulay

Maggie Leigh is trying to be a normal girl. But that's hard when London is in the midst of World War II and German bombs are raining on the city every other day. After an attack that leaves Maggie's aunt in a coma, Maggie's ultra-religious mother sends her to a faraway boarding school in Wales. The school is run by nuns that are even more religious than her mother and slightly crazier to boot. After only one day at the school, an incident on the beach occurs, one that causes Maggie and her three friends to flee for their lives.

This book was really weird. All the characters were weird, except Maggie and her aunt (though her aunt isn't in the book all that much). The plot was weird and the ending was weird. Okay, "weird" is starting to lose it's meaning. Don't worry; I'll explain. Maggie's mother is really religious, and she believes World War II is punishment because of all England is sinners. She tells Maggie that she is staying with family in Wales, but is really sending her to a Catholic boarding school. So Maggie is staying with these nun who are crazy. They don't follow any of the Catholic church's stated practices (i.e: at one point a nun hears Confession, which only a priest is ordained to do) and believe that all the girls must be "cleansed" of their evil ways. It's actually pretty creepy because one nun's face is disfigured from a fire, but in reality she's burning it off herself to scare the girls. Anyway, I don't want to give anything away in case you still want to read this book but an "accident" happens on the beach and Maggie and her three friends run away. The one friend is actually pretty normal and isn't really a friend; just a rich girl that tags along to find her boyfriend. The other girl Kate seems pretty normal until she loses her temper and kind of freaks out. And then there's Eileen who almost seems mentally deranged. So we have a whole cast of odd characters. And then there's a twist at the end that makes you go "What just happened?" I won't ruin the surprise for you, but it's pretty crazy and slightly unbelievable. Just like the whole book.

3 out of 10.

Release Date: January 6, 2009

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! And Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa and anything else I've forgotten. This is my favorite holiday and I'm so happy it's finally here!

So what did Santa bring? Any good books? I didn't really get any books, but I did get a giftcard to Barnes & Noble's so I'm definitely going to buy something with that. I also got the Twilight Movie Companion, which looks really cool and a Twilight calendar for 2009. Well I have to run, my family is watching The Dark Knight, and I just wanted to wish everyone a quick Merry Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Win Free Books!

Lisa Schroeder, author of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, is celebrating the release of her upcoming YA novel, FAR FROM YOU, and hosting a contest with LOTS of great prizes!
For three days leading up to the book’s release date of December 23rd, you can watch VLOGs and hear some excerpts read from the book. The VLOG schedule is as follows:

Sunday, December 21st – Liv’s Book Reviews -
Monday, December 22nd – What Vanessa Reads -
Tuesday, December 23rd – Lisa Schroeder, author - AND

Help spread the word, and you might win a fabulous prize!

Copy and paste THIS entire blog entry into your blog between now and December 21st, then come back to Lisa’s blog at either Livejournal OR Myspace and leave a comment with the link to your blog and you will get TWO enteries to win a number of prizes.
Wondering what you might win? Here is the list (there will be multiple winners):

~ An Advanced Review Copy of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, by Carrie Ryan
~ An Advanced Review Copy of SOMETHING, MAYBE, by Elizabeth Scott
~ Young adult novel GIRL, HERO by Carrie Jones
~ Young adult novel, THE POSSIBILITIES OF SAINTHOOD by Donna Freitas
~ Young adult novel, UGLIES by Scott Westerfield
~ Pair of YA fairy tale retellings by Cameron Dokey (BELLE and BEFORE MIDNIGHT)
~ TWILIGHT movie soundtrack
~ $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card along with some Harry & David’s chocolate moose munch
~ And of course, a signed copy of FAR FROM YOU

For more chances to win, watch one or all of the VLOGs and leave a comment on that vlogger’s page, and you get another entry. That means if you post the schedule on your blog AND comment on all three VLOGs, you can have FIVE entries for the contest!
A live drawing with winners announced will be done by Lisa Thursday morning, December 24th, in a special holiday VLOG.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman

Geena can't wait for summer: she's working at a cute coffee shop called The Triple Shot Betty and her cousin is coming home from boarding school. Geena is positive that her cousin Hero and best friend Amber will hit if off immediately; but when they don't become instant friends, Geena isn't sure what to do. Trying to reconcile her two friends and work with them at the same time may seem hard, but Geena is up for the challenge. But things get complicated (as always), when boys come into the picture: there's tension between Geena and Ben, Hero is in love with Claudio and John, who is used to getting what he wants, wants Hero. This crazy love triangle causes some problems, but it's nothing the Triple Shot Bettys can't handle.

This book was so cute! I love books that take place during the summer (my favorite season) because the weather is perfect for all kinds of adventures, plus the endless days provide the opportunity for interesting things to happen. And that they did. Geena is the classic girl-next-door, albeit a skater girl-next-door, which was something new. And she was nicely complemented by her soft cousin Hero and outgoing friend Amber. Though at times the animosity between Amber and Hero was annoying and unwarranted, it created the needed tension that made this novel good. Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty was loosely based on a play by Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing. Even though I haven't read Much Ado About Nothing, I could still see the Shakespearan themes coming through (mainly regarding the archetypal villains). John, the villain, had all the characteristics of a bad guy: charming (like the creepy charming), calculating, cunning, and at times just plain evil. I liked this new spin on an old story and think it's the perfect read for someone wanting to sit down and relax with a book.

8 out of 10.

True Confessions of a Heartless Girl by Martha Brooks

Seventeen-year-old Noreen has had a tough life, and that's part of the reason she steals her boyfriend's truck and drives off into the stormy night. She stops at a little diner to grab a coffee, which is arguably one of the best decisions she's made in a long time. She meets a young woman and her son, a wise old lady, and an suffering man, all who have problems of their own. As Noreen continues to make bad choices and learns from her mistakes, the individuals in this quaint Canadian town come together to create a better future for Noreen and themselves.

So. I'm on the fence about this book. It was well-written, no doubt about that, and Martha Brooks has this flow to her writing that must have taken awhile to perfect. The characterization of the individuals in this town was very good: everyone had their own backstory and past, which made them interesting to read about. The only character I didn't like was Noreen, who happened to be the protagonist. For some reason, I can never sympathize (in most cases) with characters who throw their lives away and don't really give a crap about anything or anyone. That was Noreen. At least it was her throughout most of the book, until the end. She did change her ways, I'll give her credit for that. But for practically all the book, she whined and moped and basically did nothing to solve her problems and even created new problems for the people in this town. I started to feel bad for these poor people, because Noreen started fires and caused dogs to get sick, and so on. Besides Noreen, I didn't mind the book. Although, I think if Noreen remained a static character throughout the whole novel, I wouldn't have liked it at all.

6 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Girl Week!

Steph at Reviewer X is hosting Girl Week, a compilation of reviews, author chats and contests. It all about feminism, women empowerment and being a girl. So far, it's really interesting and Steph is doing a great job putting this all together. So head over there and support our fellow book reviewer!

By the way, sorry I haven't been posting much. I should be posting a review of True Confessions of a Heartless Girl this weekend. This is seriously the busiest week of my life, so no Waiting on Wednesday today, sorry. Ok, now I have to decorate my Christmas tree, do my homework before 5 pm and then I have a Band and Chorus Winter Concert to perform in. Joy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Revealers by Amanda Marrone

Jules and her friends Dani, Zahara, Margo, and Sascha may seem like normal high school seniors-- but they're not. The girls are actually Revealer witches, which means they have the ability to make vampires, werewolves, and demons "reveal" themselves so the girls can destroy them. Even though it's a pain to kill these monsters every night, doing the world some good is a small consolation. That is, until the girls turn eighteen and are initiated into the inner circle of their coven. One by one, the girls are getting freaked out, but Jules, as the youngest, doesn't know what's going on. There's a terrible secret, one that threatens the very existence of the coven, and Jules has to find a way to save herself before it's too late.

This book was okay. The reader is immediately pushed into this coven's world, and at first everything was really confusing. I didn't know what was going on and there should have been more explanation about the coven and witches. As you read, you find out more, but a little background info at the beginning would have been nice. I liked all the characters, and they all had distinctive personalities which was fun to read. I also liked the suspense; the whole time you were wondering what the big secret is. Amanda Marrone does a nice job of slowly doling out new information, so you keep learning but at the same time are left in the dark. The ending, though, I didn't really like. It was a little corny and was too easily resolved. I think this book would be good for anyone that likes reading fantasy about witches.

6 out of 10.

You Are So Undead To Me by Stacey Jay

All Megan Berry wants to do is go to Homecoming. But that might not be possible, seeing how she's a Settler, and must be around to "settle" the Undead's affairs. Megan doesn't like being around dead people-- and after a freak accident a few years ago she thought her powers were gone for good. But now they're back, and she must re-learn everything about putting the dead to rest. At the same time that Megan's getting a hang of the ropes, someone starts using black magic to turn the Undead into Zombies and she must figure out who it is before it's too late.

I really liked this book. It was an interesting take on zombies, and having the power to put the undead back to their eternal rest is kind of cool. I liked Megan as a character (and her name, haha!) though in the beginning she annoyed me. She really didn't want to be a Settler again, especially since it was ruining her dates with boys, and she would not stop complaining about it. But finally Megan accepts what she has to do and gives the reader a break from the whining. I also liked the romance with Ethan, except I found it weird that Ethan is a freshmen in college while Megan is a sophomore in high school. There seems to be a big age difference, but whatever, they were still cute together. There was a lot of zombie action, especially at the end, but I didn't really like who the villains ended up being. Their motives for the black magic and awakening zombies weren't very good, and I feel like the author decided last minute who the bad guys were. Needless to say, this is a very good read and I can't wait for the sequel Undead Much to be written.

8 out of 10.

Release Date: January 22, 2009

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Waiting on Wednesday - 2

If you didn't already know, Waiting on Wednesday is place for bloggers to get excited for upcoming reads.

Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

Fifteen-year-old Callie buys a pair of real Prada pumps to impress the cool crowd on a school trip to London . Goodbye, Callie the clumsy geek-girl, hello popularity! But before she knows what’s hit her, Callie wobbles, trips, conks her head… and wakes up in the year 1815! She stumbles about until she meets the kind-hearted Emily, who takes Callie in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. Sparks soon fly between Callie and Emily’s cousin, Alex, the maddeningly handsome—though totally arrogant—Duke of Harksbury. Too bad he seems to have something sinister up his ruffled sleeve… From face-planting off velvet piano benches and hiding behind claw-foot couches to streaking through the estate halls wearing nothing but an itchy blanket, Callie’s curiosity about Alex creates all kinds of trouble. But the grandfather clock is ticking on her 19th Century shenanigans. Can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, win a kiss from Alex, and prove to herself that she’s more than just a loud-mouth klutz before her time there is up?

I really like historical fiction, especially when it has a good plot, interesting characters, and is well-written. And this sounds like it fits all three!

Prada and Prejudice will be released June 11, 2009.

Update: Sorry I haven't posted anything in a few days! I've suddenly gotten really busy with school, swimming, and Christmas so sorry for the delay. I should be posting a review of You Are So Dead To Me by the end of the week so keep checking back!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Ruby Oliver is fifteen years old and has a therapist. She may be a little young, but she's had a rough ten days. Ruby broke up with her boyfriend, lost all her friends, and became a social outcast in a matter of days. This paved the way for some scary panic attacks, so now she's stuck expressing her feelings to a shrink named Doctor Z. Doctor Z asks Ruby to write a list of all the boyfriends she's had, which further causes problems when Ruby's Boyfriend List is copied and passed around to the whole student body.

This book was cute. I didn't like it very much at the beginning, but as the story progressed and we learned more about Ruby's "boyfriends", the book got better. The story was a little confusing though, because every chapter Ruby talks about a new boy on the Boyfriend List, but during the explanation, she's continuing with the real plot of the story, which is her breaking up with her boyfriend and losing all her friends, etc. So the story was all over the place, but E. Lockhart did a nice job of tying everything together so it made sense. But besides that, I felt really bad for Ruby. She's a great character but gets into all kinds of shenanigans that don't help her social status. And plus, Ruby's best friend Kim, is real piece of work. She starts going out with Ruby's ex two days after they break up and then says it's "fate" and "meant to be". So I definitely didn't like Kim. Who is also one of the only people who has a normal name in the book. There's characters named Shiv, Cricket, Gideon, Sky, Angelo and so on. Made the book interesting, I must say. There's also a sequel, The Boy Book, but I'm not sure if I'm going to read it yet.

6 out of 10.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Sports columnist Mitch Albom has found success and popularity in his occupation, but emotionally and spiritually he is bankrupt. While watching television one night, he comes across an episode of the news show Nightline and learns that his former professor Morrie Schwartz is battling ALS. At first, Mitch is reluctant to pay his former mentor a visit, since, at his graduation ceremony, Mitch promised to remain in contact with Morrie but failed to make good on that promise. Mitch eventually overcomes his uneasiness and, to his surprise, finds a very warm welcome from Morrie. The two begin to discuss the issues of happiness, life, and death, and they soon begin to meet on a weekly basis as Mitch reassumes the role of Morrie's student.
(Taken from Fandango)

This book is so sad. And I'll admit it: I cried. But it's still a really good book and one that I think everyone should read. Seriously, though, I think Tuesdays With Morrie changed my life. It's all about learning what's important in life, which not your job or making a lot of money, contrary to popular belief. Morrie preaches that it's about finding a purpose and being with your family and learning to love people. When reading about Morrie, I wanted to meet him. He seemed so sweet and nice and wise, which made the story even more sad. I feel like he holds this key to happiness and everything he says is so simple, but no one follows it. Everyone is concerned about themselves and making money, and don't take time to appreciate the little things. In short, if you want a life-changing story, I definitely recommend reading Tuesdays With Morrie.

7 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Waiting On Wednesday

I'm finally starting one of these weekly post things that everyone does! For those of you who don't know, Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking The Spine to get excited about upcoming books.

The Season by Sarah MacLean

Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued -- in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. But between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get herself into what may be her biggest scrape yet.

When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex's heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year's season begins!

I love historical fiction and this book sounds amazing! I don't think I can wait for the March '09 release date.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I Love Your Blog

I was nominated by Molly at Random 101for the I Love Your Blog award! Thanks, Molly! Now I get to pick seven blogs that I love. Some of you probably have already been awarded this, but I'm going to award you again.

Here's the Deal:
After receiving the award you are supposed to pay it forward:
1) Add the logo of your award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

My Nominees:
Au Courant
Just Blinded Book Reviews
Reading Keeps You Sane
that one girl emily
The Book Reader
The Book Vault
Reading Mania

Contest List Updated

My contest list for December has been updated. You can check it out by clicking the link under INFO CENTER on the sidebar. Every time I see a new contest I add it to my list so keep checking back if you want to win free books! And if you want your contest advertised, just send me an email or leave a comment. : )

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

Melkorka is a fifteen year old princess in Medieval Ireland. During a Viking raid on her kingdom of Downpatrick, she and her sister Brigid must flee to a nearby village. But all is lost when both girls are kidnapped by Russian slave traders. Now powerless under bounds and gags, Melkorka takes on a vow of silence-- much to the fascination and bewilderment of her captors.

I was disappointed in this book. I thought the idea sounded really interesting, so I kept reading even though I couldn't get into the story. It was just so boring and the writing was really sparse (not unlike the writing in Wake by Lisa McMann, but at least I enjoyed that story). Half-way through the book, I just wanted to put it down and stop reading. And I could do that without caring about what happened. That was the problem: I didn't care about Melkorka or what happened to her as a slave. So instead I just skimmed the last fifty pages. And it was a good thing too, because I didn't miss much. The ending was kinda dumb, so I'm glad I didn't waste anymore time reading this book. And it's a shame too, because the cover is gorgeous.

4 out of 10.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cave of Terror by Amber Dawn Bell

Cheyenne Wilde was a normal teenage girl until she turned sixteen, and found out that she was a vampire. Now trying to deal with bloodlust, school, a new crush, and intense gymnastics practices every day, Cheyenne is getting a little stressed. And finding out that she's her clica's first Vanator in 500 years doesn't help much either. Cheyenne has all this untapped power, and must learn how to use it to defeat an enemy clica that wants her dead.

Fantasy, as a genre, is supposed to draw you in and make the unbelievable believable. Cave of Terror didn't quite do that for me. There was a lot going on, as Cheyenne and the reader are both completely new to the vampirism, and not a whole lot was explained. Some parts were a little corny, and some of the words the characters were using didn't fit with teenagers today. This book reminded me a lot of Sucks To Be Me by Kimberly Pauley, because the main characters both find out about vampires when they turn sixteen and the some of the characteristics of vampires are similar. Even though the plot could use some work, the book was cute and funny at times. If you're looking for an easy read with vampires and romance, then this book is for you.

6 out of 10.

Release Date: December 2008

Thanks to Amber Dawn Bell for sending me the e-book!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day to everyone in the US! And if you don't live in the US, have a nice day! I also want to say thanks to everyone who visits my blog and leaves comments. You guys are great!

Now that all the sappy stuff if done; what is everyone doing for the holiday? Earlier I watched the parades on TV and then went to our annual Turkey Bowl football game against our rival school. It's really funny though, because I have a lot of friends that go to the "rival" school, I would have went to the "rival" school if we hadn't moved when I was still in elementary school, and my intramural club swim team uses the "rival" school's pool. So to me, they aren't really our rivals, but whatever. It was still fun. And later my grandparents are coming over dinner. I can't wait to eat some pumpkin pie!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin Jacobsen has been next-door neighbors with the interesting and magnificent Margo Roth Spiegelmen for his whole life. They used to be good friends, but now as high school seniors, their relationship has been reduced to mere acquaintances. But then one night, Margo climbs into his bedroom window, and that all changes. On a harrowing nighttime adventure through Orlando, which include pranks, revenge, and breaking into SeaWorld, Q begins to see Margo as he always pictured her: wild, impulsive, and fun. But his hopes of them becoming real friends are dashed when the next morning Margo has disappeared, something not uncommon for the free-spirited girl. Following clues left by Margo, Q and his friends attempt to find her, leading them on a road trip they'll never forget.

I thought this book was amazing. When looking at John Green's other books, Looking For Alaska is the serious, life-changing book, while An Abundance of Katherines is the fun, humorous book. But Paper Towns is a wonderful mix of both. It was funny, the characters were interesting, it had a good message. There was even a bit of mystery that made you want to keep reading so you could find out what happened. The plot was unique and the writing was flawless. Margo, especially, was an original character, and even though I wish the reader got to learn more about her, the book was perfect the way it was. I could go on and on, but in short, if you're looking for a great book or are already a fan of John Green, Paper Towns is a must read.

9 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Won!

I finally won a contest! Yay. I won a copy of Top 8 by Katie Flinn. I'm excited to read it. The contest was hosted by Dominique at The Book Vault.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twilight: The Movie

OMG! Twilight was so good! It obviously wasn't as good as the book, but I still liked it. It was really weird, though, because whenever I see the Harry Potter movies, I like them, but I'm always disappointed because they are nothing like the books. But this time, I wasn't disappointed. Sure, things could have been done better, but it was still good. There were so many funny moments! Everyone in the theater could not stop laughing. There was this guy sitting behind us that was hilarious. He kept adding his commentary to the movie, and it wasn't annoying, thank goodness.

Now for the things I didn't like. Everything was rushed. Edward and Bella falling in love and then the ending were the worst moments of speediness. But what can you expect from a two hour movie? I personally think an extra half-hour could have done wonders for the plot. Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart, as Edward and Bella, have me on the fence. At some parts I loved them and at other parts I didn't really like them. All the other characters were great, except Alice's voice was driving me crazy! It was really high-pitched. Other than that I thought it was a good companion to the book. If you havent' read the book, you should probably wait to see the movie, because things are explained a lot better in the book.

What did everyone else think?
By the way, I put this other movie poster up that I like much better than the original.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

After her father died a year ago, Macy has been in control of her life. Everything needs to be perfect: her grades, her hair, even her intelligent boyfriend Jason. So when Jason goes to Brain Camp for the summer and Macy is stuck with a boring job at the library, it's right where she wants to be. Until she meets the Wish Catering crew, where the employees thrive on chaos and craziness, so unlike her own life. She meets Wes, and they become friends by playing the Truth game, where you always have to tell the truth even in response to tough questions. Through a new job and bonding with Wes over funny and sometimes sad stories, Macy discovers a lot of truths about her own life.

This book was adorable. I don't think it was Sarah Dessen's best, but it was still a really good book. I love how I get sucked into the story and feel like I'm actually there. I seriousy wish I could work for Wish Catering; even with all the craziness, it seems like so much fun. Macy was a great character, and the sadness she felt over her father made her even more real. Complimenting her, other characters like Kristy and Wes were so interesting. Wes seemed like a great guy and I liked how he and Macy could pretty much tell each other anything, via the game Truth. What I didn't like was how their relationship really dragged on and it took forever for them to acknowledge their feelings for each other. I also like how Sarah Dessen links her books together by mentioning places and things present in other books. For example, Macy's family has a beach house in Colby, which is where Keeping The Moon takes place. Just a good book that anyone can relate to.

7 out of 10.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Day Until Twilight!

Are you excited?! Twilight is being released tomorrow! I know I can't wait. I wasn't even that excited for the movie until my friend started reading the books about two weeks ago. She's halfway through Breaking Dawn now and loves them. It's all she can talk about during school, so naturally I got re-sucked into the series. I know some people going tonight for the midnight showing. I'm jealous, but we still have school tomorrow, so I'm not that jealous.

Anyway, I'm going tomorrow night at 7:20. I have no idea how I'm going to get through school. What's everyone else's plans for the premiere?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How To Be Popular by Meg Cabot

Steph Landry has been the least popular girl in school since she spilled a red Super Big Gulp on popular girl Lauren Moffat's skirt a few years back. Ever since, everyone has always used the expression "Don't pull a Steph" when someone does something stupid. But Steph wants to change that. She has a secret weapon - an old book called How To Be Popular that she's going to use to become popular, much to the confusion and annoyance of her best friends Becca and Jason.

I love Meg Cabot and this book did not disappoint. Everyone at one point wants to know what it's like to be popular, so everyone will be able to relate to Steph. And this book is funny. At some points I was actually laughing out loud. The characters were cute and endearing, and even the mean popular girls didn't turn out to be as bad as everyone thought. Even though this story has the classic girl-likes-unattainable-guy, girl-finds-out-that-guy-isn't-so-great and realizes-she-likes-best-friend storyline, the plot was still interesting and kept me wanting to read more. The only things I didn't like were the characters of Jason and Becca because at times they were really annoying. It seemed like Steph only tolerated Becca because they had been friends for so long, which doesn't seem very nice, but whatever. It was still a good book.

8 out of 10.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Lauren's boyfriend Dave is perfect. He's popular, friendly, good-looking and is in love with her. She doesn't understand why he thinks she's so special, because she feels less than desirable. But then Lauren meets Evan Kirkland, an old friend now back at school. She feels bad betraying her boyfriend, but she can't help falling for Evan. As she gets in deeper with Evan, she must make a choice: her "perfect" boyfriend Dave, or the love of her life Evan.

This book was so cute! It sounds kinda straightforward and unoriginal, but the book was really good. All the characters were interesting and had some kind of backstory to them. The only character that I didn't really like was Dave - even though he seemed like a great boyfriend. He was too perfect and when he talked he sounded robotic. So he was kinda boring. But Evan, I loved him. I thought it was kinda weird that Evan and Lauren lived together when they were kids because their parents were dating (it seemed awkward) but then it just gave their relationship some tension. Though, it was weird reading a book about a hot guy named Evan, because that's my younger brother's name and I couldn't help but think of him whenever I saw the name. That was the only thing I didn't like. Anyway, Elizabeth Scott is a fantastic writer and I can't wait to read her other books!

8 out of 10.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith

Joel Espen was the nice guy of the community. Always friendly, always kind, and always helpful, everyone considered Joel to be a friend. So when he unexpectedly dies of dehydration on a boy scout camping trip, the whole town of Haven is shocked and upset. In this heartbreaking novel, the six teens closest to Joel each explain their story and must learn to cope with Joel's death, and learn to live the way he did.

I was not impressed by this book at all. Since the novel has the point-of-view of six different teenagers, and each teenager takes turns narrating, the novel was choppy and unorganized. There was no plot, just six people rambling on about nothing. It really made no sense. The characters didn't have any interaction with each other and the author should have tried to tie them together better. Quite frankly, I don't know how this mess of a story was published. Even Joel's death seemed like a mockery: he was the only one who died of dehydration on the trip because he gave his water away. That's really noble, but has he no sense of self-preservation? The only saving grace of the book was the character of Joel, and he wasn't even alive. He seemed to be a good person, and a respectable role model for teens.
4 out of 10.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Yay, I was tagged to do this meme! Thanks, Allie of Just Listen Book Reviews!

Oh, btw, I haven't updated my iPod in, like, forever, so my songs are really old.

1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Put the artist after a dash following the song name.
5. Put any comments in brackets.
6. Tag some lucky people to spread the disease.

How would you describe yourself?
It Ends Tonight - All American Rejects

How do you feel today?
Miss Independent - Kelly Clarkson

What is your life’s purpose?
Losing My Religion - REM (ooh, good one)

What is your motto?
You Don't Have to Let Go - Jessica Simpson

What do you think about very often?
While My Guitar Gently Weeps - The Beatles

What is your life story?
Shut Up! - Simple Plan

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill) - Wyclef Jean ft. Akon (Haha this is funny)

What will you dance to at your wedding?
3 AM - Matchbox Twenty

What will they play at your funeral?
Lovefool - The Cardigans

What is your hobby/interest?
Calling You - Blue October

If you could do anything right now, what would it be?
Toxic - Britney Spears

What do you want most of all?
Stand - Rascal Flatts

What is your greatest fear?
Streetcorner Symphony - Rob Thomas (lol)

What is your darkest secret?
Stolen - Dashboard Confessional

What is your favorite thing in the world?
The Take Over, The Break's Over - Fall Out Boy

If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?
With Arms Wide Open - Creed

What is your theme song?
Where Is The Love - Black Eyed Peas

The next time you hear this song (aside from now, that is), you must dance.
Upside Down - Jack Johnson

What will you post this as?
Crush - Dave Matthews Band

I tag The Bookworm of Au Courant. Have fun!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wake by Lisa McMann

Janie Hannagan has an unique ability: when other people fall asleep, she gets to witness their dreams. This might sound cool at first, but its not. Janie has no control over her power, and the dreams paralyze her for hours at time, leaving her exhausted and frustrated. She can't tell anybody about her ability, including her best friend Carrie. But when Janie witnesses a frightening nightmare, for the first time she is not an observer, but a participant...

About half-way through this book, I had a feeling I wasn't going to like it, but I did like it, so that's good. I really liked Janie as a character, but I felt bad for her, too. The dream-watching seems exhausting and I think I would go crazy not be able to stop myself from witnessing other people's dreams. I also thought that Cabel was an interesting character; especially because at first I thought I wasn't going to like him, but once again, I was proven wrong. The whole premise of the novel was very new and creative, nothing like I've ever seen before. Now, there was one thing I didn't like all that much and it was the writing. It was very sparse and not-detailed, which led to passages such as:
She closed the door.
Laid on her bed.
And fell asleep...... And then its a new topic. The story felt really rushed and it was like the author was trying to tell the story in as least many words as possible. Although, I think it's more of a personal preferance of what style writing you like, so you could completely disagree with me. Besides that, I thought the story was a fresh and original read.

6 out of 10.

The next book in the series, Fade, will be released February 10, 2009.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rumors: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen

Even though it's been a few months since Elizabeth Holland's untimley demise, rumors still fly about her mysterious disappearance, as noted in the newspaper. Amidst these rumors are the mourning family and fiance, Henry Schoonmaker, who are ready to return to society and all its winter season gatherings. But now that Manhattan's princess is gone, who will take her place? Will it be Elizabeth's younger sister, Diana, whose prospective marriage could pull the family out of debt? How about Elizabeth's best friend Penelope Hayes, who has her eyes on Henry? Or could it be the Hollands' former maid, Lina Broud, who has somehow entered society's elite circle? As the wealthy know, it's never a dull day in Manhattan...

I still can't get over how original this series is! It's like Gossip Girl, but instead takes place in 1899. There's still plenty of scandal, and Gossip Girl's notorious website is even present, this time taking the place of the society pages in the newspaper. There's a lot of historical detail and it's all very interesting. The one thing I don't like, though, is that some of the characters seem very one-dimensional and flat. I'm sure that's the author's intention, but they seem so shallow, it's almost boring to read. But it's only one or two characters like this. I think Anna Godbersen wants to make it easy for us to know which characters to love and which to hate, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Besides that, there are characters who are grow and develop, like Elizabeth and Henry, and that makes up for any other characters that might be lacking. Even so, the book is extremely readable, and if you don't like historical fiction, I'm sure you'll still fall in love with this series.

7 out of 10.

Envy will be released in January 2009.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monthly Contests: December

This is a new "feature" on Simply Books. I'm going to write (type) out a list of all the contests going on in the blogging community. Just call this your unofficial guide to winning free books : )

(1) winner gets a book of their choice for under $25.
Occurs every Monday.

(1) winner every Friday!

(1) winner gets a Breaking Dawn t-shirt. Ends 12/29/08

Win copies of The Reincarnationist and The Memorist by MJ Rose. Ends 12/27/08 9 pm CST

(1) winner gets a copy of Poison Ivy by Amy Goldman Koss
Ends 12/27/08

(1) winner gets a copy of Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Judy Gehrman
Ends 12/31/08

(1) winner gets Read My Lips by Teri Brown, Likely Story by David Van Etten, Why I Let My Hair Grow Out by Maryrose Wood, The Fortunes of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson.
Ends 12/31/08 Midnight

Contests in January!

Kristi is giving away a slew of books! Ends 01/16/09

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos

Rico is a Cuban-American, but doesn't look it. His pale skin and light hair set him apart form the other Latinos in his community. Feeling isolated from his culture and misunderstood by his parents, Rico runs away to Wisconsin to live with his friend Gilberto. While there, Rico doesn't have to worry about being Cuban because everyone thinks he's white. But in the land of milk and honey, Rico feels a part of him missing, and is determined to discover who he really is.

Este libro es muy bien. In other words, this book was very good. This surprised me because I wasn't sure I was going to like it. I definitley liked how Oscar Hijuelos added some Spanish into the book (with an English translation, of course). I'm in Spanish IV and I like to see how much Spanish I've actually retained and can recognize. I thought that Rico was an interesting character and I felt sympathy for his identity crisis. He had trouble discovering who he was as a person and I think every teenager can relate to this. Even though I liked this book and thought it was good, I don't really have much to say about it. It didn't elicit much of a reaction out of me. I know this sounds like a contradiction, but you'll just have to go with it. : )

6 out of 10.


It seems like every year NaNoWriMo sneaks up on me. And I'm never prepared with a story or plot or anything. This is my third year participating, but I still haven't "won" yet. The reason? Mostly because November is one of the busiest months for me. High school swimming starts and we have like two hour practices every day. Top this off with a junior-year workload and you got yourself one busy person.

Last year I just reused the same story from the year before. I didn't feel bad about this because I know that I'm not going to finish. But now I'm totally bored with it. I'm not going to explain the plot but it takes place in Revolutionary America. Anyway, I've been rolling around this other plot in my head that also takes place during the Revolution. I have no idea why I'm writing historical fiction, you would think that present day would be easier. I can never think of any good contemporary fiction plots.

So I have to do some thinking and start writing. How is everyone else doing?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

One of my favorite holidays, besides Christmas, of course. Who doesn't like walking around in a costume and getting free candy? And yes, I'm still trick-or-treating. And yes, I know I'm a dork. I don't care, haha. I'm being Nancy Drew, while my comrade-in-arms is being Hannah Montana. I know, it's crazy: someone besides me who still goes out!

Anyway, whether you're trick-or-treating, handing out candy, or just chilling on this wonderful Friday night, have fun and be safe : )

Wednesday, October 29, 2008




This is so exciting for us, since no Philadelphia sports teams have won a championships since around 1980.

The curse of William Penn is broken!

It took $500 standing room only tickets, rain delays (gotta love the weather here), people scrounging in the trash looking for ticket stubs (this was actually on the news), but we won it!

Time to celebrate : ). Hopefully we'll have off Friday and can go to the parade.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Official Bio

Hello Everyone!

So I realized that I haven't properly introduced myself. I thought now would be a good time, while I'm organizing my blog. This bio will be posted on the sidebar under Info Center.

My name is Megan, I'm 17 and will be a senior in high school this fall. I started reviewing books in August 2007, when my good friend introduced me to After that, I became a student reviewer for Simon and Schuster's Pulse IT, Henry Holt's InGroup, and Little, Brown's Hip Scouts. I didn't event think to start a blog until that same friend started one. In July 2008, Simply Books was born.

As you can see, I love reading. I have since I was a little kid. In first grade, I read the most books in my class. Ever since, I've been devouring all types of books, but mostly YA fiction. I think even as an adult, I'll still be reading YA, it's just that good.

But as for me, I enjoy being a wholesome (and very busy) teen. I participate in many clubs at school, including National Honor Society (I'm also the junior representative), Spanish National Honor Society, Class of 2010 Committee, and Concert Band (I play clarinet). I play two school sports: tennis, which I started this year, and swimming, which I've been doing for 8 years. I also swim for club teams in both the winter and summer.

I like to spend time with friends, travel, go to the beach, and watch tv. Pretty normal stuff, I must say.

So if anyone has any questions, or just feels like chatting, feel free to email me at

And I promise, I won't talk about myself anymore : ).

Author and Book Promotion

Simply Books offers a wide range of promotion opportunities. I love talking with authors and publishers, so don't hesitate to email me.

Interviews: My interviews usually consist of 15-20 questions, divided into 4 parts: About Your Book(s), On Writing, About You, and Just For Fun. This arrangement can be changed, of course. You can have more questions, less questions, questions about one specific book, whatever you want. Interviews can also consist of questions submitted by readers. You'll just have to let me know what works best for you. And another thing: I'll have to have read the book(s) you want to be interviewed about, so if you can send me a copy, great, if not, I'll try to get one from my library.

Guest Blogs: A guest blog allows you, as the author, to write one post (or several) where you can talk about pretty much anything you want. Upcoming books, info on past books, fun stories, you name it. Readers like these because they get to see what goes on in their favorite authors' heads!

Contests: Readers love them, and hey, it's free advertising. Contests can be stand-alone or in conjunction with an interview or guest blog. You (and I, if you want) can determine the rules of the contest, whether it be random drawing or some other criteria. And you don't have to give away books. Other freebies like bookmarks, etc, are also acceptable.

If you have any other ideas, I'm open to suggestions! Just email me at and I'll be sure to get back to you in a timely fashion.

So You Want Your Book Reviewed?

It's about time I explain the inner workings of Simply Books; so here goes.

To all authors and publishers:

If you're looking for your book to be reviewed, you've come to the right place! My reviews are pretty straightforward, with a summary (almost always written in my own words) and my opinion of the book. All books are ranked on a 1-10 scale (with 10 being awesome, 5 being okay, and 1 being horrible).

If you want your book reviewed and can send me a copy, that's great. I accept ARC's of books, too. If you don't have a copy of your book, but still want me to review it, I can try to get a copy of it from my library. But there will be no guarantees, because (unfortunately) my library does not have copies of every book.

If you send me a book to be reviewed, I will finish it. Unless, it's completely horrible, but that's hardly ever the case. The only books I don't finish are ones that I get for myself.

I can't guarantee when your book will be reviewed because I have so many other books that need to be read, but it will be reviewed eventually. If you need and/or want your book reviewed earlier, shoot me an email and I'll move it up on the list.

Be warned: I will write negative reviews. They're never mean, but sometimes can be harsh, so if you don't want something bad written about your book, you might not want to send it to me. But don't worry, I like most of the books I read : ).

Even though I mostly read YA fiction, I am open to other genres and types of books.

And if you have any questions, or want your book reviewed, please email me at

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Every year, the twelve districts of Panem send a boy and a girl from the ages of twelve and eighteen to the Capitol. And every year twenty-three children are killed and one is named the victor. This is the Hunger Games, where twenty-four teens must fight to the death in the wilderness, all while being filmed for everyone to see. And every year at the reaping, where each district chooses its tributes, Katniss Everdeen has held her breath, praying that she will not be chosen. But when her younger sister Prim is called to be one of the tributes, Katniss volunteers and takes her place. Now one of the contestants in the Hunger Games, Katniss must use her cunning and survival skills to endure the deadliest reality show ever.

I just finished this book and don't know what to say. It's too amazing for words. I first saw The Hunger Games on Stephenie Meyer's website, where she said it was awesome. Then other bloggers have been reviewing it, so I decided to read it. And I'm so glad I did. I love the whole futuristic dystopia type books, like the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, so I had a feeling that I would like this book, too. The whole premise of the Hunger Games, though pretty sick, was so interesting to read about. I thought it was weird that this society would send children to compete to the death, when most societies try to protect their young, but it made for a good story. The characters, especially Katniss and Peeta, were compelling, and their romance made the book even better (what can I say, the romance gets me every time) This is one of those books that you can not put down because it's so action-packed, and then you end up reading it in one day (which is what happened to me).

The only parts I didn't like were that there should have been more explanation as to how this new society actually came about. And there were some oddly worded sentences (mostly in the beginning) that made me feel like this book could have gone through another round of editing. It was no big deal, though, and the overall plot makes up for any minor mistakes.

9 out of 10.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

Daniel Stone seems like a normal middle-aged man: he has a wife, daughter, and is a comic book artist. He doesn't like to talk about his past, where he was the only white boy in a small Eskimo village and was bullied for the color of his skin. The anger he has so carefully controlled has only been expressed on the page...until now. When he learns that his fourteen-year old daughter Trixie has been raped, Daniel must fight to keep his anger inside, while also holding together his family that threatens to fall apart.

Jodi Picoult is an amazing author, and even though this book would be catergorized as Adult, all teens should read some of her work. Although, the book switches point-of-view and you get to read from 14-year old Trixie's eyes, so you could say that parts of this book are YA. It doesn't matter though because Picoult's books are so good that any age could read them. This one wasn't as good as the other two I've read by Picoult (My Sister's Keeper and Vanishing Acts), but the story was still really interesting. What I love about Picoult's books is that the plots are so complex, and things aren't always what they seem to be on the outside. This book lagged a little throughout the middle, but then there were other parts that made me want to keep reading. Another cool part of this book is that Daniel Stone is a cartoon artist and there were real pages from his (albeit imaginary) comic book.

7 out of 10.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan

Nick's ex-girlfriend has just walked in...accompanied by a new guy. He has to make her jealous, so he turns to the random girl standing next to him and asks her to be his girlfriend for five minutes. She answers by kissing him, hoping to get over her ex and avoid her not not-friend Tris in one shot. And so begins the first date of Nick and Norah, which ends up being one adventure after another in the magical city of New York. The two fall in and out, and in and out, and maybe back into love again, all in the span of one night, complete with a killer soundtrack.

Wow. My summary is really corny, probably because my brain has been in overdrive all week. I seriously can't think today. Anyway. So I was expecting a lot from this book, because I'd heard good things about it, but the story didn't really deliver. The whole idea for the plot was really good but the story was soooo.....slow... Nothing ever happened. I'm serious. Nick and Norah went to like two places the whole night and at these places the plot advanced by millimeters. There was a lot of internal monologue and a lot times the characters were overanalyzing each other and their relationship. Gah, it got so boring. I didn't even like the characters that much. This book was definitely a disappointment.

But the movie was really good, and I liked it a lot better than the book (which never happens, so this must be the apocalypse or something). There was actually a plot (that was a lot different from the book) and the characters were funny. OH and since it was rated PG-13, there was hardly any cursing. There was so much in the book, it started to get ridiculous. One thing I did like about the book was that Tris wasn't the typical mean ex-girlfriend, well she kinda was but there was more to her character. In the movie she was really one-dimensional, but in the book she had a purpose and I liked that a lot better.

5 out of 10.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


So I was in the library, in English class working on the computers when I decided to check my email. And guess what??

Flamingnet rejected one of my book reviews.

I was like, "How can I have a book review rejected? All of mine have always been accepted!" As my friend Sarina can attest to, I was PO'd.

Let me explain how the process on Flamingnet works. I get to pick a book out of a list of about 20 or so, read it and send in a review in 4-6 weeks. They have people called underwriters, whose job is to read the reviews and make sure they sound okay and don't have any grammatical errors, etc.

This is what the underwriter told me:
"I have decided to reject your first submission of the book review on Trouble in My Way. Your opinions of the book are very good and in my opinion very well thought out. However, the description of the book was flat and confusing."

How a description can be flat is beyond me. I'll admit it, my description could have been better written, but still! It wasn't that bad! If you want to see the review it's a couple posts down. It'll be probably be changed in a few days anyway.


And that concludes Megan's Complaint of the Week. : )

P.S. I should have reviews of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan and The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult up sometime this week. School has suddenly become overwhelming, so it might have to wait for the weekend.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nick and Norah's: The Movie

So last night I went to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist at the movies. The whole reason I decided to read the book was because I saw the movie previews, thought it looked good and I always want to read the book before seeing the movie. I haven't actually finished the book because it's not holding my interest as much as I thought it would, but I saw the movie anyway.

About 15 minutes into the movie, though, the film stopped and the screen went blank. Everyone was kinda like, "What's going on?" And suddenly, flashing lights came on and a weird beeping started. We all just sat there until we realized that it was the fire alarm. Everyone was groaning, I better get my money back and I can't believe I paid $10.25 for this. An automated voice came over the loudspeaker saying "The emergency alarm has sounded. Please evacuate the building."

It was pretty scary. Everyone tried to leave through the normal exit but employees told us to use the emergency exit at the front of the theater, which was a flight of stairs leading directly outside. I felt so bad for the people on crutches having to go down the steps. It was so freaky though because no one had any idea what was going on. I was clutching my car keys so if we had to get out of there fast, I would be ready. But they let us back into the building and when we went back upstairs, the concession area was all smoky and smelled really awful.

We figured maybe a popcorn machine had overheated or something and everything was fine for the rest of movie. I've done fire drills at school countless times but never at a public place.

As for the movie, it was really cute. I have a feeling that I'm going to like the movie better than the book, which never happens. I guess we'll see.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trouble in My Way by Michelle Stimpson

Karis Reed means well. She really is a good person at heart. Going to a boy's house without permission was just a mistake. But her minister of a mother doesn't see it that way. Karis's mother takes away all of her electronics, including her cell phone, leaving Karis feeling unjustly punished. Even though Karis is grounded, trouble seems to find her anyway. After a cell phone disaster and a questionable young man put Karis at odds with her mother again, Karis must figure out how to be the godly person she knows she is inside.

This book was okay. It was the author's first attempt at writing young adult fiction and the writing showed her inexperience. The premise of the story was good, but the plot could use some doctoring. Parts of this book were unrealistic and characters reacted to events differently than what normally would be expected. There was also a lot of '90s slang used that made me laugh (see: "His body was slammin'"). Yes, that's an actual quote (or near an actual quote). And Karis was so naive, it wasn't even funny. Her boyfriend is a player and everyone knows it, but she doesn't figure it out until the very end when they're in the backseat of his car. Nice, Karis, nice. There were other things she did that were stupid too, like running up her friend's cell phone bill to 900 dollars. How is that even possible? I actually started to feel like this book was a satire of another book, that's how ridiculous it was. Also: there's a lot of religious themes in the story, so if you don't like that, this book probably isn't for you.

5 out of 10.

Release Date: November 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Review Archives

This list includes every book I've reviewed in alphabetical order.

1984 by George Orwell

ABC's of Kissing Boys, The by Tina Ferraro
Adoration of Jenna Fox, The by Mary E. Pearson
Airhead by Meg Cabot
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

Back Creek by Leslie Goetsch
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught
Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
Bloom by Elizabeth Scott
Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
Body Finder, The by Kimberly Derting
Boleyn Inheritance, The by Philippa Gregory
Boot Camp by Todd Strasser
Boyfriend List, The, by E. Lockhart
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Breathe My Name by R. A. Nelson
Brothers Torres, The by Coert Voorhees

Catcher in the Rye, The by J. D. Salinger
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Cave of Terror by Amber Dawn Bell
Chosen One, The by Carol Lynch Williams
Circle of Friends, The: Book IV - Mike by L. Diane Wolfe
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors
Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson
Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman
Curse by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier

Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos
Da Vinci Code, The by Dan Brown
Dead-Tossed Waves, The by Carrie Ryan
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser
Death By Bikini by Linda Gerber
Death By Denim by Linda Gerber
Death By Latte by Linda Gerber
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Devil's Queen, The by Jeanne Kalogridis
Diamonds, The by Ted Michael
Diary of a Chav by Grace Dent
Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The by E. Lockhart

Elite, The by Jennifer Banash
Envy: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen
Espressologist, The by Kristina Springer
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Eva Underground by Dandi Daley Mackall
Evernight by Claudia Gray
Everything is Fine. by Ann Dee Ellis
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Far From You by Lisa Schroeder
Fat Cat by Robin Brande
Forest of Hands and Teeth, The by Carrie Ryan
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan
Ghostgirl: Homecoming by Tonya Hurley
Gimme A Call by Sarah Mlynowski
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
GoldenGirl by Micol Ostow
Gorgeous Game, This by Donna Freitas
Great Gatsby, The by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Handmaid's Tale, The by Margaret Atwood
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Hell Week by Rosemary Clement-Moore
High Spirits by Dianne K. Salerni
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti
Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
How Not To Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler
How To Be Popular by Meg Cabot
How To Build a House by Dana Reinhardt
Hunger Games, The by Suzanne Collins
Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale by Donna Jo Napoli
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

I Am Rembrandt's Daughter by Lynn Cullen
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Karma Club, The by Jessica Brody
King Lear by William Shakespeare
King's Rose, The by Alisa M. Libby
Kiss in Time, A by Alex Flinn

Larry and the Meaning of Life by Janet Tashjian
Legacy by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Likely Story by David Van Etten
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott
Luxe, The by Anna Godbersen

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz
Meeting Lizzy by SarahBeth Carter
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
Metamorphosis, The by Franz Kafka
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

Native Son by Richard Wright
Nature of Jade, The by Deb Caletti
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan
Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
Nuts and Bolts of College Writing, The by Michael Harvey

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
One, The by Ed Decter
Other Queen, The by Philippa Gregory
Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata

Paper Towns by John Green
Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
Peril on the Sea by Michael Cadnum
Posh and Prejudice by Grace Dent
Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
Prayer for Owen Meany, A by John Irving
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink


Reality Check by Jen Calonita
Revealers by Amanda Marrone
Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz
Rumors: A Luxe Novel by Anna Godbersen

Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Season, The by Sarah MacLean
Secret Life of Prince Charming, The by Deb Caletti
Secret Sharer, The by Joseph Conrad
Secret Year, The by Jennifer R. Hubbard
September Sisters, The by Jillian Cantor
Shelter Me by Alex McAulay
Shipping News, The by E. Annie Proulx
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Silver Kiss, The by Annette Curtis Klause
Skinned by Robin Wasserman
Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
Spellbound by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Stargazer by Claudia Gray
Sucks To Be Me by Kimberly Pauley
Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
Swimming by Nicola Keegan

Tenth Circle, The by Jodi Picoult
Thanksgiving at the Inn by Tim Whitney
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Tithe by Holly Black
Top 8 by Katie Finn
Trouble in My Way by Michelle Stimpson
True Confessions of a Heartless Girl by Martha Brooks
Truth About Forever, The by Sarah Dessen
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Unwritten Rule, The by Elizabeth Scott


Wake by Lisa McMann
Way He Lived, The by Emily Wing Smith
What If You Broke All The Rules by Liz Ruckdeschel and Sara James
Willow by Julia Hoban
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Witch by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
Witch & Wizard by James Patterson


You Are So Undead To Me by Stacey Jay