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



This is a list of genres that I categorize every book review into. I try to pick one genre per book, but sometimes it's two. When you click the name of the genre, it will take you to all books reviewed in that genre.

Classic Literature
Contemporary Fiction
Fairy Tales and Myths
Historical Fiction
Science Fiction

Monday, October 13, 2008

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

Terra Cooper is tall, blonde, and has an amazing figure. But when people look at her, all they see is the port-wine stain that marks her right cheek. Terra is determined to escape the stares in her small Washington town and attend college on the East Coast, but her controlling father won't pay for her tuition to go there. Everything seems to be falling apart, until Terra (literally) crashes into Jacob, a Goth Chinese boy who's the first person to truly understand her. Set to theme of maps, Terra travels outside of her comfort zone (in more ways than one) and learns that real beauty is on the inside.

This book was really good. I loved how everything was centered around maps: Terra's father is a cartographer and Terra makes many references to famous explorers, elements of maps, etc. Speaking of her father, he was a real piece of work. He was always putting down Terra and her mother and said some really nasty things to both of them. There was this whole level of tension between Terra and her father because he wouldn't pay the tuition of a private school and I couldn't help with agree with him. As the old saying goes, beggars can't be choosers, and if Terra wanted him to pay for college, then he got to dictate where she went.

Anyway, I loved having Terra as narrator because her voice was just so real. I felt like she could be an actual person; she was that complex. I thought it was really interesting reading about port-wine stains and how Terra had to deal with all the stares and comments. She was very resilient and strong, and a good role model for young girls. I also loved Jacob. He was such a great character. He was interesting and embodied all the traits that girls like to see in a boyfriend ; )

As for things I didn't like (they're aren't that many), Terra's mother was really weak. She let her husband walk all over her and it annoyed me. By the end, though, she gets a backbone which was nice to see. Also, there was this backstory with Terra's aunt who had died. They would mention it and I didn't see the point of the story until the end. I think it could have been explained a lot better, though.

Even so, the story had an important message: that inner beauty is what really counts. For anyone feeling down, this book will definitely give you a dose of self-confidence. And what about the cover? I think it's amazing! (Side Note: Wouldn't it be awesome if your face was on a book? I mean, that girl is out there somewhere, reading a book with her face on the cover. I'm so jealous!)

8 out of 10.

Release Date: February 2009

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's Inventory Time!

As you can see, I've already begun my inventory with the alphabetical author's list. Next comes my review archives, genre archives, then explanation of how book promotion works on my blog and an official bio (which I know all of you are dying for). So my blog will be plagued with boring posts such as the one that proceeds this one. Don't worry about reading them, I'm really doing it so I could put it on my sidebar and make finding reviews and authors ten times easier. So bear with me, please :). I don't know how long it could take to finish this little project, so it could be done by the end of month or in March. Who knows?

Anyhoo, I was planning on reviewing North of Beautiful tonight, but my sister just got off and it's 9:51 pm here, so I don't feel like doing it now. Definitely tomorrow though.

Also, I have a question. My computer is being weird again so my internet explorer window is making everything very narrow. Does that make sense? I was wondering if my blog looked weird, like do the book covers look really stretched out? I want to make sure it's just my computer that's messed up and no one else can see it.


Saturday, October 11, 2008


As to make my blog more organized I've decided to list all the authors whose books I've reviewed in alphebetical order. I'm going to put a link to this post on the side so you can access it whenever you want.

Albom, Mitch
Anderson, Laurie Halse
Atwood, Margaret
Austen, Jane

Banash, Jennifer
Bauer, Joan
Bell, Amber Dawn
Benway, Robin
Black, Holly
Brande, Robin
Bray, Libba
Brody, Jessica
Bronte, Charlotte
Brooks, Martha
Brown, Dan

Cabot, Meg
Cadnum, Michael
Caletti, Deb
Calonita, Jen
Cantor, Jillian
Carter, SarahBeth
Chaltas, Thalia
Chima, Cinda Williams
Clare, Cassandra
Clarke, Linda Weaver
Clement-Moore, Rosemary
Cohn, Rachel
Collins, Suzanne
Conrad, Joseph
Cullen, Lynn

Decter, Ed
De La Cruz, Melissa
Dent, Grace
Derting, Kimberly
Dessen, Sarah
Dolamore, Jaclyn
Duncan, Lois

Elkeles, Simone
Ellis, Ann Dee

Fantaskey, Beth
Ferraro, Tina
Finn, Katie
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Fitzpatrick, Becca
Flinn, Alex
Ford, Michael Thomas
Forman, Gayle
Freitas, Donna
Friedman, Aimee

Garcia, Kami
Gehrman, Jody
George Jessica Day
Gerber, Linda
Godbersen, Anna
Goetsch, Leslie
Gray, Claudia
Green, John
Gregory, Philippa

Harvey, Michael
Headley, Justina Chen
Hijuelos, Oscar
Hoban, Julia
Holder, Nancy
Hubbard, Jennifer R.
Hubbard, Mandy
Hurley, Tonya
Hurston, Zora Neale
Huxley, Aldous

Irving, John

James, Sara
Jarzab, Anna
Jay, Stacey
Johnson, Maureen

Kadohata, Cynthia
Kafka, Franz
Kalogridis, Jeanne
Keegan, Nicola
Kincaid. Jamaica
Klause, Annette Curtis

Larson, Kirby
Leviathan, David
Libby, Alisa M.
Lockhart, E.

Mackall, Dandi Daley
MacLean, Sarah
Mantchev, Lisa
Marillier, Juliet
Marrone, Amanda
McAulay, Alex
McMann, Lisa
Meyer, Stephenie
Michael, Ted
Miller, Arthur
Mlynowski, Sarah
Myracle, Lauren

Napoli, Donna Jo
Nelson, R. A.

O'Brien, Caragh M.
Ockler, Sarah
Oliver, Lauren
Orwell, George
Osterlund, Anne
Ostow, Micol

Palahniuk, Chuck
Patterson, James
Pauley, Kimberly
Pearson, Mary E.
Pfeffer, Susan Beth
Picoult, Judy
Proulx, E. Annie


Reinhardt, Dana
Ruckdeschel, Liz
Ryan, Carrie

Salerni, Dianne K.
Salinger, J.D.
Schroeder, Lisa
Scott, Elizabeth
Selfors, Suzanne
Shakespeare, William
Shelley, Mary
Sittenfeld, Curtis
Smith, Emily Wing
Snadowsky, Daria
Sparks, Nicholas
Springer, Kristina
Stiefvater, Maggie
Stimpson, Michelle
Stohl, Margaret
Strasnick, Lauren
Strasser, Todd
Supplee, Suzanne

Tashjian, Janet


Van Etten, David
Vaught, Susan
Viguie, Debbie
Vivian, Siobhan
Vonnegut, Kurt
Voorhees, Coert

Walker, Melissa
Wasserman, Robin
Wharton, Edith
Whitney, Tim
Williams, Carol Lynch
Wolfe, L. Diane
Wolfson, Jill
Wright, Richard



Zarr, Sara
Zemser, Amy Bronwen
Zevin, Gabrielle
Ziegler, Jennifer
Zink, Michelle

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser

Elaine Hamilton would love nothing more than to follow her idol, Julia Child, in attending Smith College and then going to a culinary school in France. The only thing stopping Elaine from pursuing her dream of being a chef is her ultra-feminist mother who doesn't want her daughter slaving away in domesticity. When Elaine meets Lucida Sans (yes, named after the font), she gets pulled into Lucida's wacky escapades, which include exacting revenge on pretty-boy Croton, acquiring a cable-access channel and winning a cooking contest. During these adventures, Elaine realizes that she does have the courage to fight for what she wants, if she could just find it in herself.

Dear Julia was okay. Not bad, but not that good, either. It was definitely a fast read - I read it in a weekend. The plot had a good premise, but it needs some work. The characters also could have been fleshed out better. Elaine, especially. She had two character traits: timid and polite. The only thing that made her interesting was her passion for cooking. Besides that Elaine was literally an empty shell. Lucida's M.O. was to be famous, in any way possible. This included dressing up in crazy costumes to school (she wore a mouse costume to school), which was very weird and maybe not allowed in the dress code? At least at my school it wouldn't be. I also really liked Elaine's five brothers, though, they made the book funny. In spite of the other stuff, the one thing I did enjoy about this book was the fact that the author included real French cooking terms and even though I didn't understand a thing, it made the book authentic. There were even cooking techniques, and I could tell that Amy Bronwen Zemser did her research.
5 out of 10.

Release Date: October 14, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tithe by Holly Black

Kaye has always been different. As a blonde Asian, she's used to the weird looks and stares. And the fact that when Kaye was younger she played with faeries didn't help her elementary school image. So when she suddenly finds herself back in her hometown, she's sure some magic will follow. And it does. After Kaye saves a faerie knight, she's thrown into a war between two rival faerie factions--a war in which she'll be lucky to survive.

To be honest, I hated this book. I know that sounds harsh, and if you actually liked Tithe, you might not want to read my review. But I decided to state my grievances in a list, as to make it more organized.

1) The characters were...well, let's just say they left much to be desired.
Kaye, the protagonist, was weird. There's no other way to say it. Not different or unique, just weird. And I hated when other characters would call her clever, because she did like two clever things throughout the whole book. Kaye was 16, smoked, drank, and dropped out of school. Yeah, that sounds real smart to me. The only character I kinda liked was the faerie knight Roiben. He was actually interesting.

2) The plot was a mess.
Throughout the whole book I had no idea what was going on. This character was good, then they were bad, Kaye is suddenly a pixie, just really random stuff was going on. At the end, Kaye has this epiphany (where she came up with it, I have no idea, because there was no foreshadowing), anyway, she explains everything that was going on. But I was still not clarified.

3) The writing was awful.
I have no idea how this book was published because the writitng was terrible. Holly Black tried way too hard to conjure imagery (i.e: "[talking about a sunset] Like he slit his wrists in a bathtub and the blood is all over the water."). I thought that was too much. Also, there was a lot of cursing. There's nothing wrong with a little swearing here and there, but when you drop the f-bomb while asking for the salt, it starts getting ridiculous. Ok, that didn't really happen but you get the idea.

4) The fantasy aspect was unbelievable.
I know the words 'fantasy' and 'believable' contradict each other, but good fantasy makes you believe that whatever happening is real and draws you into a new world. And this book didn't do that. I hate to say it, but books like this are the reason I don't really like the fantasy genre.

As you can tell, I really didn't like this book. I would have stopped reading it after like two chapters, but I had to review it for Pulse IT. Even so, I felt like that was a huge waste of my time.

2 out of 10.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Like OMG Teens Read Newsletter

I've been quoted! The September issue of Like OMG Teens Read Newsletter includes an article about Teen Tuesday, a blog that I contribute to. I just gave a blurb about why I like Teen Tuesday. The newsletter is really awesome, though. It has book reviews, author interviews, contests and much more. Visit What Vanessa Reads to check it out!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Banned Books Week

So even though it's the end of Banned Books Week, I still decided to blog about it because I think it's an important topic. Every year, readers get to celebrate their freedom to read freely. We are all extremely lucky to live in a country with free speech, free press, and everything mentioned in the First Amendment. This includes the right to read whatever we want. So it drives me crazy when people try to ban books in public schools and libraries. Sure, there's explicit things that maybe young students shouldn't be reading. But if you look at the Banned Books List, you can see that almost every book is harmless. It drives me crazy when people think they can tell people what they are allowed to read or not. I think these people have a superiority complex or something, because I would would never tell someone else what can and cannot read. And I wouldn't want someone telling my kids what they can and cannot read.

For example, a few months ago, a school in New York wanted the junior class to read Looking For Alaska by John Green. As we all know, there is some inappropiate content so the school sent out a letter asking the parents if it was okay if their child read the book. But another parent, one that had a freshmen student and had no association with the junior class, read the book and decided that no one should be able to read it. I mean, how crazy is that? I can't believe that some people feel threatened by the written word and that they would ban books and burn them in rallies. Okay, so I'm not sure if people actually do that but it sounded good.

Anyway, all I'm trying to say is: don't take any crap from those crazy book banners who think they know anything about books. Because obviously, they don't.

For more information on Banned Books Week, visit