Friday, May 28, 2010

Review: The Julian Game

Title: The Julian Game
Author: Adele Griffin

     From GoodReads, "New girl Raye Archer is desperate for a way into the In crowd, so when ice-queen Ella Parker chooses her to get back at her ex, the gorgeous Julian Kilgarry, Raye is more than game. Even if it means creating a fake Facebook identity as “Elizabeth” so that she can learn enough about Julian to sabotage him. While a fun and dangerous thrill at first, what Raye hadn’t counted on was falling for Julian herself—and igniting Ella’s rage. 

As Raye works to reconcile the temptress Elizabeth with her real-life self, Ella serves up her own revenge. Now it’s Raye who falls victim, as Ella creates an online smear campaign of nasty rumors and trashy photographs. Suddenly notorious, Raye has to find a way out of the web of deceit that she’s helped to build, and back to the relationships that matter. "

     First off, I have to thank Adele Griffin for sending us an ARC of The Julian Game.  This book is a lot of fun to read.  The main character, Raye Archer, is a mix of nerdy, smart, naive, and funny... and I really liked her.  I also thought that her best friend, Natalya, was the epitome of a true friend.  It was especially interesting to see the dynamics between these two characters.  I think that Natalya was a better friend to Raye than vice-versa.  
     Another thing that stood out to me in the story is the fact that the bad girl, Ella Parker, has OCD, which makes her seem more human.  However, it doesn't take away the fact that she is an easy character to dislike.  The worst thing about her is how she treats people and not just the people she dislikes, but also the people that she considers friends.
     Another thing that I really liked about the book is the relationships between Raye, her father, and her future step-mother. It was nice to see an instance where family got along and wasn't dysfunctional. 
     There were a few times in the story that I got a little lost in the writing and I worry that the book might only have appeal for a limited time due in part to so many pop-culture references, but overall I really liked the book and I think most teen girls will like it as well.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Review: My Father's Son

Title: My Father's Son
Author: Terri Fields

     From Shelfari, "WHAT IF YOUR FATHER ISN’T WHO YOU THOUGHT HE WAS? “I turn up the volume as a woman at a news desk announces, ‘This just in…the alleged DB25 monster has been arrested.’ Good. The camera switches from the anchor to a mug shot…and it is my face—or at least my face as it will look thirty years from now…A new image replaces the full-screen mug shot as I see two cops hustling my handcuffed father into the back of a police car.” Kevin has to face the worst imaginable possibility: that his father may be the man responsible for a series of vicious killings. How much does he really know about his father?"

     I began reading two nights ago and ended up staying up until the wee hours to finish it because this book grabs you from the opening pages and never lets go.  This is one of those books that you think that you have things figured out, only to realize that you are totally off base.  

     This is one of those books that keeps you thinking.  I liked that the main character, Kevin Windor, thinks that he has the perfect life only to have the world come tumbling down upon him.  It was interesting to see how he deals with all of the trauma unfolding around him.  I felt that the way that Kevin dealt with his life, his family, his friends, and all of the other aspects of the story was completely believable.  Author, Terri Fields, has written a masterful suspense story that is filled with excitement and mystery and I would highly recommend reading this book.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review: Linger

Title: Linger
Author: Maggie Stiefvater

From GoodReads, "In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, inLinger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past...and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves...and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love--the light and the dark, the warm and the cold--in a way you will never forget."

     It's been almost a year since Shiver came out and I am pretty sure that is why it took me awhile before I could re-connect with the characters from the first novel.  I distinctly remembered Grace and Sam, the main characters of the two books, but was having a hard time remembering the other characters from the story.  The book is told from different points of view, but unlike the first book, which was told just from Sam and Grace's perspectives, this book throws in two other character perspectives as well... Isabel and Cole.  I remember Isabel from the first book, but couldn't for the life of me place Cole from the first book.  I almost put Linger down to go back and re-read Shiver when a plot point in the book made me realize that Cole wasn't in the first novel (no wonder I didn't remember him.)  
     The moment that Cole St. Claire comes onto the scene, I instantly disliked him.  His cocky demeanor and abrasive viewpoints made me wonder why Maggie Stiefvater would want to include him in this second novel.  Then Maggie Stiefvater pulls a fast one on me as an unsuspecting reader and after all of the crappy things he does (and there are many), I find out that I'm actually starting to like him... just in time for the book to end.
     I have to admit that this book had me going through emotions that I don't normally experience while reading a book.  There were times that I was incredibly mad at Stiefvater.  I am a fan of happy endings and when I had the feeling that the book might not be going in that favor, I had to put the book down for two weeks while I made a decision whether I would return to it or not.  I did return, mainly because I wanted to know what happened.  I guess that is what makes Maggie Stiefvater a great author because she writes from her own emotions and in the process touches the reader's emotions as well.
     I can honestly say that I wasn't thrilled with the way this story ended (being the sucker for happy endings that I am), but again Stiefvater has me looking forward to finding out what happens to not only Grace and Sam, but Cole and Isabel as well... unfortunately it looks like I'll have to wait another year for the ending... here's hoping it is a happy one! 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review: Party

Title: Party
Author: Tom Leveen

     From Shelfari, "It's saturday night in Santa Barbara and school is done for the year. Everyone is headed to the same party. Or at least it seems that way. The place is packed.  Simple, right? But for 11 different people the motives are way more complicated. As each character takes a turn and tells his or her story, the eleven individuals intersect, and reconnect, collide, and combine in ways that none of them ever saw coming."

     I standing at the bookstore looking for a new read and the title Party definitely caught my attention!  I love reading about teens and their stories, so when I read the inside cover saying the book was about eleven teens and exciting party I was definitely interested.  Not only was this book exciting, I liked how each chapter covered a different teens story.  It was interesting to see how each story was related to one another.  I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter to see what the next teen had to say.  I almost felt like I was there!  I work at our schools library and will definitely put this book on the must read rack! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Review: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Title: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Author:  Morgan Matson

     From GoodReads, "Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself."

     I saw this book while I was searching for a new book to read (even though I have a shelf full of books that I haven't read yet at home, but I digress). Anyway, the cover immediately caught my eye.  I had finished reading another book recently about a road trip and hoped that this book would be as good as that one was.  This book not only met my expectations, it exceeded them.
     This book has a lot going for it, there was a little bit of mystery thrown into a self-discovery trip across the landscapes of America.  This book did something that not very many books have been able to do, it inspired me.  I actually took a short jaunt to Walmart this morning to purchase an atlas and start planning my own Epic Detour.
     There are some readers out there that might not like the character of  Amy, but I think that you don't necessarily have to like a character for them to be believable.  As a person who lost my father when I was close in age to Amy, I could totally identify with the flood of emotions she was feeling about his death.  I liked that this book represented not only Amy's journey of self-discovery, but Rogers as well.  I also thought it was cool that the book showed how you could be on a journey towards something only to discover in the end that it wasn't exactly what you wanted.  
     The only complaint that I have about the novel is that there is no way that you can "sip" a Blizzard at Dairy Queen.  If that is the only thing that bothered me, obviously it was a great book.  With my trusty atlas in hand and awesome songs from the Playlists suggested in the book, I hope to begin my own Epic Detour next summer... thanks to Morgan Matson!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review: Gimme A Call

Title: Gimme a Call
Author:  Sarah Mlynowski

From GoodReads, "Devi's life isn't turning out at all like she wanted. She wasted the past three years going out with Bryan—cute, adorable, break-your-heart Bryan. Devi let her friendships fade, blew off studying, didn't join any clubs . . . and now that Bryan has broken up with her, she has nothing left. 

Not even her stupid cell phone—she dropped it in the mall fountain. Now it only calls one number . . . hers. At age fourteen, three years ago!

Once Devi gets over the shock—and convinces her younger self that she isn't some wacko—she realizes that she's been given an awesome gift. She can tell herself all the right things to do . . . because she's already done all the wrong ones! Who better to take advice from than your future self?

Except . . .what if getting what you 
think you want changes everything?"

     I saw this book at a bookstore while I was at a technology conference and loved the cover.  There are times when I read the book jacket and decide against purchasing the book, but in this case, it is what made me want to read the book.  I liked the idea of going back in time to try to fix the mistakes that you made and change your past.  I have seen this premise in movies occasionally, but I haven't really read anything quite like this book.  I found myself thinking about what I would change in the past and how that would alter my future.  I also found that some things I wouldn't change because if I didn't have the experience, I wouldn't be where I am today.  It's a fun read, but a thought-provoking read as well.  I liked the main character, Devi, most when she was her fourteen-year-old self.  I know that sounds weird, but when she is her seventeen-year-old self bossing around her younger self, I don't like her all that much.  It seemed to me that at times, Devi's younger self was more mature than her older self.  I really thought that the story would end differently than it did, but I wasn't disappointed by the ending at all.  I especially liked the writing style of Sarah Mlynowski... so much so that I wanted to purchase some of her other books as well.  I am hoping to read more from this particular author.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review: Karma Club

Title:  The Karma Club
Author: Jessica Brody

From GoodReads, "Madison Kasparkova always thought she understood how Karma works. It’s that mysterious, powerful force that brings harmony to the universe. You know—do good things and you will be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what’s coming to you. A sort of cosmic balancing act.

But when Mason Brooks, Maddy’s boyfriend of two years, gets caught tongue-wrestling with Miss Perfect Body Heather Campbell, and absolutely nothing happens to either of them—except that they wind up the hot new couple of Colonial High School, it seems like Karma has officially left Maddy in the lurch. That’s why Maddy and her best friends, Angie and Jade, decide to start the Karma Club—a secret, members-only organization whose sole purpose is to clean up the messes that the universe has been leaving behind. Whether they’re modifying Heather Campbell’s acne cream as part of “Operation Butterface,” or righting a few wrongs when it comes to Angie and Jade’s own slimy exes, they know they’re just doing what Karma should have done in the first place. They’re taking care of one another.

Sometimes, though, it isn’t wise to meddle with the universe. Because it turns out, when you mess with Karma, Karma messes back. Now Maddy must find a way to balance her life for good, even as everything around her seems to be toppling to the ground."

     I had heard of karma before but I guess never really thought about what it truly was.  As I read about karma I began to think of how karma has affected my own life.  I love books that make you self reflect!  The main character is great!  Her full name is Madison Kasparkova, but is known as Maddy.  Even though Maddy’s problems are typical teen problems, I love stories about high school drama and how it is handled.  Maddy was deeply hurt and decides to do something about it.  Her intentions are really good, but in the end she realizes there are rules to karma.  During Maddy’s quest, she gets to know a great guy named Spencer Cooper.  Spencer becomes a great friend and then some!
     My favorite things about the book are all things that Maddy’s learns along the way. She learns what great friends she has, just because you have money doesn’t mean you are snobby person, you can’t control others karma just your own and honesty is the best policy! This is the kind of book that will leave you smiling in the end!    I have to admit it made me realize some things too!!!

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