Monday, 30 November 2009

If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pub. Date: April 1st 2007
Age Rang: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: paperback
Source of copy: from the publisher - Disney Hyperion

Wicked stepmother? Check.
Evil stepsisters? Check.
Miserable life? Check.

Lucy Norton's life has all the makings of a Cinderella story. Her dad's always away on business, leaving Lucy with her cruel stepmother and bratty stepsisters. She's burdened with chores, and has a hard time fitting in at her new school. So when she sees Connor Pearson, the star player on the varsity basketball team, Lucy hopes her destiny has finally changed. With everything else going on in her life, doesn't she at least deserve to get the handsome prince?

A retelling of Cinderella with a more light-hearted plot and some twist, If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where Is My Prince? is a heartwarming story for those who truly believe that fairy tales can happen in real life. The story has its flaws; however, that doesn't stop lots of readers to enjoy it.

If I Have A Wicked Stepmother, Where Is My Prince? has all the qualities of a fairy tale: it has the bad ones, the good ones and miracles. It also stays really true to the classic version of Cinderella. Even though it's set in modern times, it resembles the original one in the background really much. The subordinate characters and how they first appear, are exactly the same as those we once read about when we were younger. That makes me feel happy, like I'm going through the emotions I had for Cinderella when I was introduced to it the first time, but also I'm looking forward for a change.

The new details and twist are nice. I don't say that they're mind-blowing or brilliant but for a quick and cute read they contribute quite a lot to the story. Lucy has a guy all smitten for her in the middle of the story but he's not necessary her real prince. And there's a lot of tension between the Lucy and her step-mother at first, but then their relationship gets much better. Lucy too, is a new refreshing version of Cinderella. Although she's in such a bad situation, she sounds calm and never too meek. I love the fact that she has a slight humor and that she's passionate for art.

Ironic as it might sound, what I find kinda confusing is the twist. I mean Connor seems very nice to Lucy and their relationship has potential to develop into real love if they spend more time with each other and stop talking just about sports. That's way more persuasive than Lucy falling in love with Sam with light speed. And it still seems weird as well how the mother and the daughter make up so smoothly, almost without much effort.

To sum up, this book is a lovely retelling of Cinderella even when it lacks the wow factor. Suitable for a read in the garden on a sunshineful Sunday.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Sunday Special (34) Before & After

As promised here are the luckiest stock pictures which have been chosen to present YA books. Some are old, some new but all look very interesting. Check out the input and output of the process of cover-creating alright?

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I Know It's Over by C.K Kelly Martin

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before after
Stranded by J.T Dutton

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before after
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

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Flash Burnout by L.K Madigan

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before after
Wild Roses by Deb Caletti

What do you think? Fun isn't it? I think all the designers did a great job on bringing a fresh look for the pictures. Which one is your favorite? Want more posts like this? Just let me know!!!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Wake by Lisa McMann

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub.Date: March 4th 2008
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 210
Series: Dream Catcher
Format: paperback
Source of copy: from the publisher - Simon Pulse Aus

Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people's dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow-student that she discovers her true power.

An intoxicating read, a promising beginning for a series about dream catching. With very intriguing concept and twell-planned details, Wake is a perfect book for fans of paranormal and romance as well.

Needless to say, the premise of the book is the richest feature of Wake, also the next two books in the series. The narrator doesn't dream of people's secrets, she doesn't sneak into their dreams either. She is, against her will, forced to witness others' deepest darkest desires and fears of all time. Also, she has no control over the power at all.

Lisa McMann's style of writing is, in my opinion, calm but very mysterious. The descriptions of the dreams, especially the sex-crazed ones, are very well-written and elegant. It gives the exact feeling of being in dreams - vague, clueless and almost powerless. The story is not action-packed nor magic-packed. It digs the land of emotions, self-exploration more. I like the situation that the author puts Janie through, specifically how she finds out about her special ability. It's natural and convincing.

Janie is a...balanced female lead. She isn't the meek tight but I have yet to see her strong side. She's a hardworking, kind girl who just wants to live a normal life. I have so much sympathy for her because her family doesn't seem to care about her at all and with her secret she's so lonely. The only problem about her is that I don't understand why Janie falls for Cabel so fast. (How come this seems to happen all the time in like...almost every book?) I believe that she and Cabel have crushes on each other, but love? No way. Although I have to say that Cabel has a very unique way to confess to Janie.

Overall, this is a very nice first book of the series. If it's a single book I don't think I might be that impressed. But everything just begins and Wake's success is that it makes the readers want more and more. What do you say? Want to give it a try? Bet you'll like it.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (37)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt.

A hilarious and sweet teen novel by Lauren Barnholdt, the author of two-way street.

UPDATE UPDATE: full synopsis (thanks to Lauren<3)

Four dares
Two secrets
One night

Eliza is in a full-blown panic. Her notebook has been stolen—the one that lists everything she wants but is afraid to go after. And the absolute worst person in the world has it: her ex-boyfriend, Cooper.

Like it’s not enough Cooper was lying to Eliza for their entire relationship, now he and his friends are blackmailing her. They’re giving her just one night to complete the most humiliating tasks on her list or they’ll post her secrets online—including the ones that aren’t just about her.

Eliza’s sure of only one thing: she isn’t going down without a fight. Cooper may have what’s left of her dignity, but she’s not the only one with something to hide....

This sucks because we don't have a real synopsis yet. I have real high expectation for this book. Why? Because I love Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt really really much and One Night That Changes Everything seems to resemble that one in a few ways. I like the fact that even though the cover looks serious, the story, like Goodreads says, is going to be hilarious and sweet. Bottom line: I WANT THIS BOOK. (now that we have the synopsis here, I want it ever more. I'm done haha)

Let's read this one on the night of July 20th 2010 and see if it changes anything :-)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure by Larry Smith, Rachel Fershleiser

Publisher: Harper Teen
Pub. Date: September 1st 2009
Age Range: 12 and up
Pages: 240
Format: paperback
Source of copy: from the publisher - Harper Teen

True tales of love, loss, good friends, and bad hair days filled Not Quite What I Was Planning, the New York Times bestselling first book in the Six-Word Memoir series—an international phenomenon. Some of the very best were by teens, so the editors decided to create a book written entirely by those bold, brash truth-tellers. From cancer to creativity, prom dates to promiscuity, and breaking hearts to breaking laws, the memoirs in this collection reveal that often the youngest writers have the most fascinating stories to tell.

This book of memoirs is absolutely admire-worthy. A kind of book that every teen, even adult, should have in their bags, on their shelves just to read it every day and love it even more.

The great thing about the memoirs is the limited amount of words. Without much space to tell long stories about themselves, the talented teens still manage to convey the most important or influential happenings in their lives to the readers. Six words, no more or less. Six words with so much meaning. Six words that leave you with imagination of the rest of the stories. Six words that inspire you so much. You feel like you've been confided by people that you don't even know, you feel their joy, their sorrow, and then in an amazing away, everything inspires you, making you think of a special moments in your own years of being an earthling as well

The book covers a lot of fields: family, love, friendship, dream, life-changing decisions, some are just about how beautiful their lives are at this moment. It's emotion-packed with various kinds, from the heavenly feelings to the very sad ones, sad but not too depressed. It included memoirs of the normal teenagers mostly, but there are a few pages for memoirs of the real famous ones.

Here are a few memoirs - a sneak peak of the book:

Met online, love before first sight.

Seventeen, pregnant. He's off to Iraq.

You made me stronger. Thanks, rapist

We're the family you gossip about.

Her touch made me scars beautiful.

Impressed and excited about this book already? Why don't you go out and grab a copy right now? I assure you, you'll never regret picking up this one. Never ever.

Rating: 4.5/5

Monday, 23 November 2009

In My Mailbox (37)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

I got only one book this week, but it's fabulous one!!!

"I had no illusions about love... It came, it went, it left casualties or it didn't. People weren't meant to be together forever, regardless of what the songs say." Remy doesn't believe in love. And why should she? Her romance novelist mother is working on her fifth marriage, and her father, a '70s hippie singer, left her with only a one-hit wonder song to remember him by. Every time Remy hears "This Lullaby," it feels like "a bruise that never quite healed right." "Wherever you may go / I will let you down / But this lullaby plays on..." Never without a boyfriend, Remy is a compulsive dater, but before a guy can go all "Ken" on her (as in "ultra boyfriend behavior") she cuts him off, without ever getting close or getting hurt. That's why she's stunned when klutzy, quirky, alterna-band boy Dexter inserts himself into her life and refuses to leave. Remy's been accepted to Stanford, and she plans on having her usual summer fling before tying up the loose ends of her pre-college life and heading for the coast. Except Dexter's not following Remy's tried-and-true rules of break-up protocol. And for the first time, Remy's questioning whether or not she wants him to.

I just read and review this book on my blog (look at the post below) but my copy is the UK version. I love the cover of the US version too much I just have to get this one. And it's rare to see a Sarah Deseen book in bookstores here so I bought it without second thought. Pretty book hey?

What about you? What have you got last week? Spill!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Pub. Date: July 24th 2008
Age Range: Age 12 and up
Pages: 384
Format: paperback
Source Of Copy: from publisher - Hodder Children's Books

Remy doesn't believe in love. And why should she? Her romance novelist mother is working on her fifth marriage, and her father, a '70s hippie singer, left her with only a one-hit wonder song to remember him by. Every time Remy hears "This Lullaby," it feels like "a bruise that never quite healed right." "Wherever you may go / I will let you down / But this lullaby plays on..." Never without a boyfriend, Remy is a compulsive dater, but before a guy can go all "Ken" on her (as in "ultra boyfriend behavior") she cuts him off, without ever getting close or getting hurt. That's why she's stunned when klutzy, quirky, alterna-band boy Dexter inserts himself into her life and refuses to leave. Remy's been accepted to Stanford, and she plans on having her usual summer fling before tying up the loose ends of her pre-college life and heading for the coast. Except Dexter's not following Remy's tried-and-true rules of break-up protocol. And for the first time, Remy's questioning whether or not she wants him to.

This Lullaby is definitely the best Sarah Dessen book I've read so far, and can possibly be the best she's has written all over the years. It's the perfect combination of her usual style - laid back, thought-provoking with something new and exciting - rebellious, carefree and love-feared main character.

Natural plotline. That's the first thing I noticed about this book. Many have written about teenage girls who have lost faith in love but I always find them either too forceful or dramatic. With Remy's story, I felt nothing but the thrill to explore more about this. The girl doesn't remain aloof, she doesn't dread going out with boys at all. She just has no interest in long-termed relationship or commitment.

Music plays a very important part in This Lullaby. The song is really short but I can guarantee that you will fall in love with the lyric, it's meaningful and at the same time inspiring. This Lullaby holds the connection of the girl with her late father, and maybe with the musician boy Dexter too.

This Luallby excels the other books by Sarah Dessen, in my opinion, because it doesn't repeat the same texture the rest of her stories follow. This book focuses more on the subject of love than family. There're a whole range of characters, making the story less quiet. Our protagonist is not lonely either, she has a circle of friends whom she can totally trust. And she gith

Remy is awesome. I love how Sarah Dessen framed her character. She's not the perfect girl type like Macy or Auden, she resembles Ruby but in a stronger way. She does a lot of not-so-good things like drinking, smoking, sleeping around with guys, yet her image is still nice - a girl who always looks out for her mother and is adored by tons of the opposite sex. Sometimes she's bitchy and bitter too, but I like it a lot. (I've just discovered that I love reading about bitter characters?!) In compared to her match - Dexter, Remy is more mature and thoughtful. Speaking of Dexter, he's different from Wes, Nate and Eli, very different. He's impulsive, he's childish, he's untidy but he's also more fun and open-hearted, the kind that is not shy to express his feelings to the girl he falls at first sight. And did I mention that no only is he talented but also super sweet? That let's-be-friend thing is just unexpected of him.

As I said, (or have said a thousands of times)I like reading bout love so this is the perfect book for me. Remy learns that making light of love doesn't make her any stronger, if anything, she's considered weak for not having the guts to lay her love on someone just because she doesn't know what the future holds for the two. Sometimes love fails us and sometimes we fail love; however, that doesn't matter, because the great time it brings is priceless. Great message isn't it?

An amazing book by Sarah Dessen for teens who is going to fall in love or is already deep in it, promising 384 pages that will warm your heart and soul.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, 20 November 2009

Friday Flavor (4) Pam Bachorz Couldn't Pick A Single Favorite Book...

for Friday Flavor this week because she just loves too many books to even begin with. ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, DOWN A DARK HALL & SUNFIRE ROMANCES are the ones. Let's see how these books appeal to her and why she can't not pick one of the three.

I was waffling between L.M. Montgomery's ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, Lois Duncan's DOWN A DARK HALL, or... the pile of beloved paperbacks on their own special shelf: SUNFIRE ROMANCES. But I have a ton of them! How could I pick one?

I didn't. I choose them all! (see picture!). I read these while growing up; unfortunately I don't think they're in print anymore but I've seen used copies for not much $$ on Amazon, EBay, etc. Sunfire Romances each focus on a different girl, living in a different time in the USA. There's a strong romantic plot line in each (duh, look at the title, right?) but there's also a rich storyline based on the events and climate of the time, too. They run the gamut from 1600s Massachusetts to the western frontier to Pearl Harbor to the birth of women's rights. More info about them here: My only complaint? They never titled one PAMELA! (I spent a lot of time daydreaming about this. Which time period would they pick? Maybe the Roaring 20s in Saratoga Springs, I'd like that. Would the girl on the cover look like me? I hoped she'd pick the ruffian for her true love. I liked the girls who did that.)

I loved these books because the historical stories were great, you never really knew which guy the heroine was going to pick, and, well, the covers were really pretty, at least to my tween self. They were also a very satisfying length, to start, until they almost halved in size (and at the same time the girls on the cover seemed to get thinner... weird.) I also credit SUNFIRE with being instrumental to my getting the highest grade on the AP American History test, years after I'd stopped reading them! So, history students, put down your textbooks and pick up a SUNFIRE ROMANCE!

So, are you in favor of historical fictions? If you are, tell us about one or two titles you're in love with.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Peace, Love & Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

Publisher: DUTTON JUVENILE, Penguin US
Pub. Date: April 16th 2009
Age Range: Young adult
Pages: 192
Format: hardcover
Source Of Copy: from publisher - Penguin US

Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, fifteen-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancy-and authenticity-of her sister, Anna. But when fourteen-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And there are boys involved, complicating things as boys always do. With warmth, insight, and an unparalleled gift for finding humor even in stormy situations, beloved author Lauren Myracle dives into the tumultuous waters of sisterhood and shows that even very different sisters can learn to help each other stay afloat.

I cannot put it into words how much I want a sibling after reading Peace, Love & Baby Ducks. This adorable, honest and touching book will make you realize how lucky you are to have a sister/brother in your life. In fact, if you're desperately looking for a present for Sisters' Day, this could be the one.

It's been such a while since I read stories on family love, so Peace, Love & Baby Ducks really brings the emotions that have been missing in a while. Carly and Anna, two quite different girls - one is was strong, dares to be outstanding and athletic while the other pretty, shy and always wants to get rid of the little sister label. Despite that they've been tight and happy together. This year, though, when Carly returns from a camp at the farm, the differences and changes start to get into the girls. And then the story begins.

Although it's sure not to be the impressive or mind-blowing kind, Lauren Myracle's writing is still lovely, in fact, just as adorable as her characters and the plotline in Peace, Love & Baby Ducks. It's light-hearted and close to heart. All the time I read this book I just want to cuddle next to my favorite cousin or hug her. It brings this warmth of family love to your heart and everything is just delightful even though the characters are in conflict. This is the book you will adore, and have to adore. You know, there are books that make you feel still and lost in the moment, but there are also ones that urge you to look into the bright and happy future. Peace, Love & Baby Ducks belongs to the latter kind.

Carly and Anna are so cute. Their sisterly love makes me really envious. Most of the time Carly appears very immature, especially her blind love towards that bad guy (what's his name again?) but to Anna she's still very protective and that's sweet. I so love the premise of the confusion between the sisters. It's so real. Sometimes you want to surpass your sibling so much it causes chains of troubles, even gets to the point of breaking your relationship. Oh and did I mention the baby ducks? REAL baby ducks. Their appearance are almost unexpected, but of course, unique.

I suggest you pick this book up right now. And read it with your sister, if possible.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (37)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

You Wish by Mandy Hubbard.

What if all your wishes really came true? Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do. Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink. My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.

Freaking cute book!!! I've not been able to tear my eyes off the book since I saw it, what a lovely one. Somehow the synopsis reminds me of 13 Going On 30 when the wishes all came true messed things up. I love how there are so many books on wishes these days. Well, hopefully 15-yea-old Kayla finds a way to deal with it all.

Be careful with what you wish for. But if you wish for a copy of this book on August 2rd, 2010, I don't think it may do any harm at all ;0

Monday, 16 November 2009

In My Mailbox (36)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Young Loaded and Fabulous by Kate Kingsley.

London socialites Alice Rochester and Natalya Abbot are glamorous, sexy, spoilt and only sixteen. When they're not at their prestigious private school, St. Cecilias, just outside London (where they rub shoulders with the children of Europe's elite), they can be found partying in London's private members clubs or jetting off to the most sophisticated European cities. Alice and Tally have ruled, undisputed, at the top of St. Cecilias' social hierarchy since their arrival at the school three years ago. But now trouble is brewing; friendships with boys are getting complicated and sparking jealousies between the girls, and, to make matters worse, a thoroughly unwelcome American girl has just arrived.

Secrets and Liars by Kate Kingsley.

Love is in the air at St Cecilia's: Alice Rochester has a new man in her life, much to her ex Tristan's dismay, Tally Abbott and hot new teacher Mr Logan's secret tutorials are getting cosier and new girl Dylan Taylor is being well and truly romanced by Jasper. But when the crew all head over to Rome for Alice's cousin's lavish engagement party hosted by Italian Vogue tensions are high. Will it all end happily ever after?

Keeping You A Secret by Julie Anne Peters.

With a steady boyfriend, the position of Student Council President, and a chance to go to an Ivy League college, high school life is just fine for Holland Jaeger. At least it seems to be. But when Cece Goddard comes to school, everything changes. Cece and Holland have undeniable feelings for each other, but how will others react to their developing relationship? This moving love story between two girls is a worthy successor to Nancy Garden's classic young adult coming out novel, Annie on My Mind. With her characteristic humor and breezy style, Peters has captured the compelling emotions of young love.

Another series rich and popular kids which, in fact, appeal more to me than the GG series. I like the titles of the books - they lure the readers in. Also, I borrowed a GLBT title from my friend Debbie - a great book by Julie Anne Peters. Debbie said it impressed her and she was hard to please so I'm very excited about it.

Thanks Debbie and Maura from Headlines UK for these books.

So what have you got last week? Tell me! :)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday Special (33) It's Been A While...

...since my last Sunday Special post. Now I'm here to show you some mock covers I did over the past weeks. The pictures looked really good and their colours were just perfect so I didn't have to add much effects. These are all dedicated to C.K Kelly Martin who has been such a great author friend to me :)

I Know It's Over

One Lonely Degree

The Lighter Side Of Life and Death

All pictures are from Credits to all the photographers for taking such beautiful and inspirational shots. In the process of browsing through the photos I came across those that were chosen to be official covers for some already published and upcoming books too. Will share with you guys in the next two weeks so watch out for it.

Or and here's a lousy cover for my NaNoWriMo novel. I'm way too behind schedule so I made this to cheer me up (at the time when I was supposed to be writing)

So what do you think of these? Love them, hate them, let me know!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Comeback by Marlene Perez

Publisher: Point, Scholastic
Pub. Date: August 1st 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from the publisher - Scholastic

Sophie Donnelly is one half of the most popular and powerful couple in school, until new girl Angie Vogel shows up and compromises everything. Angie steals Sophie's starring role in the school play, and, worse, her super-popular boyfriend. Sophie has been quickly dispatched to social Siberia, but not for long--she'll do anything it takes to make a triumphant comeback.

There was not much to say about this The Comeback. It was a fun read but lacked the factors that would surprise or impress readers. A typical story of a popular girl trying to get back her first place and everything that (she considered) defined her.

Sophie thought she had it all. The popularity, the perfect boyfriend, the leading roles in each and every school play. Until Angie, a newcomer, came and stole the spotlight. Sophie was mad and hurt and she was determined to make a comeback even if it meant being mean to the innocents. Marlene Perez's writing was entertaining so even though everything was way too predictable, you'd never feel the urge to put it down and move on to the next book in your TBR pile.

What was interesting the most was the circumstance Sophie was put under. Ironic as it was, my pity and anger for the girl who suddenly lost it all was the thing that kept me read on to the end. The highschool drama, too, was fun and not overstating at all.

Sophie was such a funny girl. She wasn't the common popular mean girl. Well, she was mean, but you felt bad for her instead of hating her. Her silliness and stupidity would bother readers sometimes - like I couldn't understand why it was so important for her to get back at Angie despite the fact that she knew the girl was not guilty. In term of subordinate characters, there wasn't much development in them (Sophie's brother was cute, anyway). Angie, for example, was a confusing one. At first she acted like she was trying to put Sophie down by any means then suddenly became sweet and timid.

Overall, it was a cute book. Suitable for a fast read in my opinion.

Rating: 2.5/5

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Say The Word by Jeannine Garsee

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pub. Date: March 17th 2009
Age Range: 12 and up
Format: hardcover
Source of copy: from author

Dredging up the past can knock the present right off balance.

The world expects perfection from seventeen-year-old Shawna Gallagher, and for the most part, that’s what they get. She dates the right boys, gets good grades, and follows her father’s every rule. But when her estranged lesbian mother dies, it’s more than perfect Shawna can take. Suddenly, anger from being abandoned ten years ago is resurfacing along with Shawna’s embarrassment over her mother’s other family. As she confronts family secrets and questions from the past, Shawna realizes there’s a difference between doing the perfect thing and doing the right thing.

I've not read many novels of this kind, but I'm quite confident to say that Say The Word is one of the most well written books about homosexuality. Told in a very unique point of view - daughter of a lesbian Mom, Shawna's story was true to the core, painful yet still beautiful.

Gloomy, bitter and full of unpleasant happenings were how I defined the book. The writing was neat and the subject was handled with absolute care, however; it didn't make the story feel too adorned. On the contrary everything was raw and ingenuous, something all readers are looking for in a book these days, especially YA releases.

I had fun reading this book. It was fast paced and all the thrilling events made me very keyed up to read on. So, in other words, Say The Word was unputdowntable. I kept telling myself to put off reading this so I could finish my homework, but I went on sneaking back just to read a little bit more. Consequently, I ended up ignoring homework to finish the book. The world created in the story was very interesting yet it was tough as hell. What would you do if your Mom left your Dad for another woman, totally abandoning you with a complete perfectionists who made you feel so suffocating you just wanted to explode? And then there were family secrets, unexpected intertwinement and fractured friendship, everything seemed to drown our protagonist deeper and deeper in hopelessness.

Shawna's character was interesting, partly because she had multiple personalities, partly because she was in such a dreadful situation her actions conflicted with her feelings. Perfect Shawna, Evil Shawna, Pathetic Shawna, you'd have a chance to meet them all in this book, knowing each side of the girl and how it affected her life. To tell the truth I liked Evil Shawna the most. I loved how she was bitter and sad, and sometimes did stupid things that pained others. I also took a liking to the fact that she could hardly accept the two closest persons to her were lesbians at first. It was convincing and very real. Even when some people said they were cool with homosexuality, they would find it harder to deal once it happened to the ones that actually knew. Or at least that was what I thought.

The ending was okay. It was not bad but I really thought Shawna deserved more than that. She was supposed to pursue her dream and get together with the ones she truly loved and cared for. After all she'd been through I really expected a happy ending. But I guess the ending suited the mood of rest of the book. It was sad. Also, it'd have been less forceful if Shawna and Arye spent more time together and shared more memories. They fell in love too soon and too hard it didn't make much sense to me.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (36)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

The Extraordinary Secrets Of April, May and June by Robin Benway.

Three sisters, three extraordinary, life-changing powers!

I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.

Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.

Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

Anyone else thinks of Charmed as soon as you read the synopsis of this book? I love the concept of this very strong, very sisterly and very magical. It sounds different from Robin Benway's first book, which I love with all my heart so I really don't know what to expect. But my intuition tells me it's going to be just as great. I love the names of the sisters and, needless to say, the cover rocksssssssssss.

August 3rd 2010, roll on!!!!

Monday, 9 November 2009

In My Mailbox (37)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

The I Girl (book 1) by Cecily von Ziegesar.

Popular Gossip Girl character Jenny Humphrey is leaving Constance Billard to attend Waverly Academy, an elite boarding school in New York horse country where glamorous rich kids dont let the rules get in the way of an excellent time. Jennys determined to leave her crazy Manhattan past behind and become a sophisticated goddess on campus. But first shell have to contend with her self-absorbed roommates, Callie Vernon and Brett Messerschmidt. Hot guys, new intrigue, and more delicious gossip all add up to more trouble than ever for Jenny. But if getting caught with boys and going up against the Disciplinary Committee is what it takes, Jennys ready. Shell do all that and more to be The It Girl.

Gossip Girl (book 1) by Cecily von Ziegesar.

'Welcome to New York City's Upper East Side, where my friends and I live and go to school and play and sleep - sometimes with each other. We're smart, we've inherited classic good looks, and we know how to party. It's a luxe life, but someone's got to live it.' The Gossip Girl series is the ultimate in glamour and cool - set in New York's glamorous Upper East Side the narrative follows the thrills and spills (with Jimmy Choo shoes and shopping at Barneys mixed in along the way) of its richest and most beautiful teenage residents. 'Gossip Girl' is the ultimate in sophistication, scandal and luxury - in fact if Carrie Bradshaw of 'Sex and the City' had a younger sister, there is no doubt she would be 'Gossip Girl'! Publisher's Weekly is quoted: 'Gossip Girl has the effect of gossip itself - once you enter it's hard to extract yourself; teens will devour this whole'. We will be publishing the series at regular intervals throughout 2003 with a high profile, energetic and suitably cutting-edge marketing campaign. This deliciously catty and engrossing series will be the spicy vanguard for Bloomsbury pushing the bundaries into young adult fiction.

Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough.

Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

Like I said before, I don't really like reading books on luxurious lives with mean girls and stuff but I decided to give the two series - Gossip Girls and the It Girl a try because they seem interesting. It must be interesting enough to be turned into TV series and became so popular right? For Once A Witch, I heard so many good things on it and couldn't resist requesting a copy. The cover looks fabulous in real life.

Thanks Maura from Headlines UK, Carolyn McCullough and Jennifer from Houghton Mifflin for getting these book sent to me ^^

Happy reading Monday~!!!!!!!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Center Of The Universe by Anita Liberty

Publisher: Simon Pulse Aus
Pub. Date: July 1st 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 160
Format: paperback
Source of copy: from the publisher - Simon Pulse Aus

Welcome to the story of my life. Well, at least the story of my junior and senior years of high school. It's a profound, touching, and hilarious (if I do say so myself) tale told through cunning poems, revelatory diary entries, perspicacious (look it up) word definitions, shrewd bits of advice, and off-the-cuff (but brilliant) insights. You'll probably relate to a lot of it. Especially the parts about hating my parents, never feeling cool enough, failing my first attempt at the SATs, having an incredibly romantic (but one-sided) relationship with the coolest guy in school, and getting hexed by my ex-best friend who became a Wiccan. And if you can't relate? Well, step to the back of that humongous line. You'll probably be right behind my family. If you're lucky, my mom'll bring snacks. How can I be who I am and who my family wants me to be when the person I am wouldn't be caught dead with the person my family wants me to be?

What makes a teenager's life dreadful? School? Mean girls? Bad boys aka jerks? No. Parents. At least that was how it was to thirteen-to-nineteen Ania Liberty. Truthful to the max, the story, or should I say a collection of significant memories of tthe author's teenage years, was an awesome read that would unintentionally make Anita Liberty a very best friend of every girl those ages.

The best quality of the book that was it was not fiction and it was hilarious. Told through diary entries, poems of all kinds, self-definition dictionary and even SAT questions, Anita's story was nothing but unique. There were no dialogues at all, not a single one, but somehow it was more captivating than any other normal stories. Even the unpleasant appearance of a small rat in the new apartment, under the pen of Anita Liberty, turned out to be worth-noticing.

Because, as I said above, The Center Of The Universe was purely about teenage life, it had everything that concerned a young adult: schoolwork, life at home, dating and making/breaking friendship. All of these were mixed with special flavors of Anita's humor and lovely poetry skills. This was the book that'd keep you smiling, chuckling and cracking up from the preface page to the acknowledgment.

Although it covered the six most exciting years of Anita's life, the book didn't have a particular change of voice at all. All I saw was a cheerful and somewhat silly girl who always remained positive and hopeful no matter what she had to face with. Everything that happened to her every day was a new experience and she took pleasure in it. People could make she feel bad and depressed sometimes, yet Anita moved on and had fun again just a little while after. Her world wasn't surely pink but she managed to see it that way.

Anita was amazing. Her character, or the younger version of her when she wrote this book, was someone I would befriend with by all means. She was interesting, if not for her hilariousness or friendliness than for her talent. I also admired the fact the Anita Liberty brave enough to show all the readers this part of her life, especially when she showed such strong hatred toward her family members.

To sum up, this book was a book that not only each and every teenager should have on their shelf but the adults may pick up as well. It was the perfect picture of the time when we were young, wild, and was the center of the universe - even though others believed it or not.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, 6 November 2009

Friday Flavor (3) Five Reasons To Love The Treasure Map Of Boys

Last time Lara Zielin shared her love for the book she's always loved. This week, it's Susane Colasanti's turn to spill about the novel she adores. Guess what it is?

Well, you don't have to wait long. Let's hear (or more precisely, read) what Susane has to say:

Book title: The Treasure Map of Boys

Author: E. Lockhart

When did you finish it? August 23, 2009

Why do you love it so much?

E. Lockhart is one of my favorite authors. I adore her writing style. The way she can evoke such strong emotions with just a few well-selected words has always impressed me. Since there are so many reasons to worship this book, I have compiled a list of some of mine.

Top Five Things I Love About The Treasure Map of Boys

1. Fun word choices like “pony-tailing around” and “snarfled.” Oh, and “ag” of course.

2. It kept me entertained for over an hour in airport security lines.

3. The whole Fresh Fiasco on page 25.

4. Boy problems, girl drama, mental health issues, and friendly zoo animals.

5. Like Sara in When It Happens, Ruby is looking for something real.

You don't believe that Susane loves this book that much? I have more convincing proof.

Look at how bright Susane's smiles are. She even kissed the book! Notes: pictures taken in Vancouver in front of Science World.

Is it enough to make you excited about the book and pick it up right away? Hopefully it is for you because it is for me already. I don't just want to devour this book, I want to read the whole series too. Which girl doesn't want to learn more about boys, especially in such cute stories?

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Book Review Club NOV - Teach Me by R.A Nelson

Publisher: Penguin Aus
Pub. Date: March 22nd 2007
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 272
Format: paperback
Source of copy: from publisher - Penguin Aus

What happens when a high school student and her teacher cross that line?

Teach Me by R. A. Nelson is a powerful debut novel that readers will not be able to put down. From the very first page, Nine speaks in a voice that is at once raw, honest, direct, and unusually eloquent. "There has been an earthquake in my life," she says, inviting you inside an experience that fascinates everyone-an affair between teacher and student-and giving a personal answer to the question: How does this happen?

R. A. Nelson's strong writing is paired with a story we all want to hear, resulting in a novel that will speak to every teenager. A novel about a love so intense that the person you're with becomes your world, and when you lose that person, you lose your world.

This book was so awesome I could squeal all day. A perfect combo of truth and lies, love and betrayal, passion and anger, poetry and science, Teach Me was a true work of art that would reach out to not only teenagers but adults as well.

Teach Me was the book of many firsts - first time stepping into the world of poems and inconclusive dreams, first time falling deep into forbidden love, first time having the heart shattered and first time realizing the true meaning of life. The story grabbed your attention at the very first page with the seemingly bizarre but interesting protagonist - Caroline, or Nine as she called herself. There were no chapters at all. The book was divided into many different parts with a very poetic title for each, allowing the author to switch between very different scenes and the readers to explore various sides of Nine's story.

The devlopement of the story was amazing. At first you got this feeling of a very elegant novel where everything was gentle, sweet, delicate. Then came the passion, the desire, the addiction, pushing things to the verge of explosion. The change of voice was so smooth you hardly recognize the difference. It was still Nine, the smart and outstanding girl who tried to find the answer to the cause of her heartbreak. Sometimes what was happening was vague hence incomprehensible but that only made you wanted to read more and more. The book became unputdownable just then.

Nine wasn't a typical girl. Her personalities changed during the process of her story. Just like the book itself, on the first half all you saw was an intelligent girl who accidentally got herself involved in a relationship with her teachers yet things were under control . The rest of the book, on the other hand showed a confused and outrageous Nine who would do anything and everything to break the ones who had made her life this anguish. As for Mr. Mann, I wasn't really impressed by him initially, he just struck me as some jerk who took advantage of kids. But there was his side of the story too, with a hurtful twist that completed his character.

Overall this book was an impressive read of two people who fell in love and unconsciously taught each other things that were, hard to accept, but necessary to lead a real life. It was sad, almost too painful so if you have a faint heart, think twice before you pick it up

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (35)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

The Lighter Side Of Life And Death by C.K Kelly Martin.

Sixteen-year-old Mason Rice is having the night of his life. He's just delivered an incredible performance in the school play, basked in celebratory afterglow vibes at the party of the year, and lost his virginity to one of his best friends—the gorgeous but previously unobtainable Kat Medina. His dreams are coming true, and the future looks golden.

Unfortunately, Kat sees things very differently. Crossing the friendship line was a big mistake, and all she wants is to forget it and move on, even if that means forgetting Mason altogether. What's a guy to do? Well, if you're Mason, you hang your hopes on the first attractive twenty-three-year-old you cross paths with. At first Mason wonders if he's imagining the chemistry . . . until Colette invites him over to her apartment. Suddenly Mason's living in a whole new world.

Acclaimed YA author C. K. Kelly Martin offers a sexy, soulful story of one confused boy, two girls, and all the complications that ensue in this romantic feel-good love story that celebrates friendship, first love, first lust, and second chances.

This book sounds perfectly HOT. The only thing it needs to complete the package is a really cool cover. Judging from the previous covers of C.K's books I think we all can hold up our hope. The premise is new and nostalgic just like I Know It's Over and One Lonley Degree. One more point for the male narrator and another one for somewhat scandalous relationship. I can't wait :(

Find the lighter side of life and death in May 2010.

Monday, 2 November 2009

In My Mailbox (36)

Idea taken from The Story Siren.

Secret Society by Tom Dolby.

An eccentric new girl. A brooding socialite. The scion of one of New York’s wealthiest families. A promising filmmaker. As students at the exclusive Chadwick School, Phoebe, Lauren, Nick, and Patch already live in a world most teenagers only dream about.

They didn’t ask to be Society members. But when three of them receive a mysterious text message promising success and fame beyond belief, they say yes to everything. Even to the harrowing initiation ceremony in a gritty warehouse downtown, and to the ankh-shaped tattoo they’re forced to get on the nape of their necks. Once they’re part of the Society, things begin falling into place for them. Week after week, their ambitions are fulfilled. It’s all perfect—until a body is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks except for an ankh-shaped tattoo.

I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure by Larry Smith, Rachel Fershleiser.

True tales of love, loss, good friends, and bad hair days filled Not Quite What I Was Planning, the New York Times bestselling first book in the Six-Word Memoir series—an international phenomenon. Some of the very best were by teens, so the editors decided to create a book written entirely by those bold, brash truth-tellers. From cancer to creativity, prom dates to promiscuity, and breaking hearts to breaking laws, the memoirs in this collection reveal that often the youngest writers have the most fascinating stories to tell.

The Naught List by Suzanne Young.

As leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens), Tessa’s mission is twofold: pep preservation and relationship salvation. That’s right, Tessa is a head cheerleader whose night job is catching cheating boyfriends in the act! Thank goodness her own relationship with Aiden is strawberry-smoothie purrfect—except for the fact that she’s been concealing her nocturnal habits for, oh, two years.

Aiden suspects something’s up, and his patience is wearing thin. But in the meantime, Tessa’s far too busy to deal with her own romantic roadblocks. The Naughty List is at maximum capacity; because so far, every single suspect on it is 100% guilty.

But Tessa’s in for an even bigger shock when Aiden’s name shows up on The Naughty List, and she’s finally forced to confront the unthinkable: is her own boyfriend just as naughty as all the rest?

I'm reading the six word memories book at the moment and mang it was good. Such talented teens, they can summarize their lives in just six words and make us react to it. I'm also very excited to start The Naughty List book 1. Who doesn't like reading stuff about naughty boys? LOL.

Thanks Kelly Tapper from HC & Suzanne Young for these books ^^

Happy new week, happy new books. Lame I know =.=