Friday 30 January 2009

Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: May 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: hardcover
Source: borrowed

In one short week . . . three lives change.

Rhiannon is devastated after the breakup with her boyfriend and wants him back. Nicole's ex is still in the picture, but she can't help having a new crush. James and Rhiannon are just friends, though he may try to take it to the next level. Will their desire to take a mean girl down a notch bring these three friends what they want . . . and more?

Set during one life-altering week and told in three realistic perspectives, this engaging, witty novel by the author of When It Happens shows the ups and downs of love, friendship-and karma.

My friend Debbie and I discovered Susane on wandering around and I was so glad we did. I like her writing style, it's nice and everything feels close to real life. I have this goofy feeling whenever I pick Take Me There up. It was such a sweet one. The cover, the story, even the acknowledgements will put a smile on your face.

More or less you'll find yourself (and maybe your friends too) in this book. Every characters seem familiar. There's Rhianon, heartbroken and hopeless after a sudden break up. There's Nicole, confused and hurt inside. There's James, sweet and caring, having a secret crush on his best friend. Also: politic and charming Danny, mean Gloria, wicked smart Miguel, burnout senior Eliezer, self-confident and admirable Tatyanna, abusive and bad-tempered Brad, poor little Sheila, and many more.

I love how Susane wrote in three different points of views because it gave us a complete look of the eventful short week. Nicole's story was my favorite. While Rhianon's and James's were predictable, Nicole's was different. She was lost in her own feelings and suffered from memories of her Dad's abuse - which she could not tell anyone even her mother. The secret was spilt into three parts so it kept you curious and guessing like crazy, as well as slowly making perfect sense for the reason why Nicole chose to break up with Danny. Aside from Nicole, Gloria was someone else I would not forget. How she switched from mean to sweet/childish was very surprising.

Much as I like Take Me There, I think it could have been better. It was typical, and some parts turned out to be kind of boring (maybe because of the monologue?). I also didn't like the fact that James spent 100 bucks out of his savings for college on copying Gloria's note. I knew he wanted to get revenge for Rhianon, but still, a total waste.

Rating: 3/5

Did you know? The idea for Rhiannon and James to be best friends and then suddenly find themselves as more than that actually came from a dream. Susane woke up and knew it was meant to be the main plot of Take Me There.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (2)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Swoon by Nina Malkin

Sin is Coming...Prepare to Swoon!

Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him—but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent—and irresistible—adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.

Romantic, mysterious and scary. Who wouldn't love this story? Also, I adore the characters' names and the cover is simply breathtaking.

Swoon will come out in May 2009, make sure you'll check the stores then.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Happy Tag

I was tagged by Nadine for this meme.

Rules of the tag:
- Link to the person who tagged you
- List 6 things that make you happy
- Post the rules, tag 6 others and let them know you did so
- Then tell the person who tagged you your entry is finished!

SIX things that make me HAPPY:
: ) Books. I love books to death.
: ) Blogging and sharing my thoughts/feelings with others. I used to write diary everyday but it got boring and I decided to blog. It has been great!
: ) My cousin Ann. She rules <3>
: ) Having more friends. I'm shy so making friends is always so hard for me.
: ) Music. Who doesn't love music?
: ) Cute babies. Lately I've been addicted to babies, I don't even know why.

So these 6 lovely bloggers should tell us 6 things that make them happy too

Mellisa Walker at Mellisa Walker Blog
Lenore at Presenting Lenore
Chelsea at The Page Flipper
Korianne at Korianne Speaks
Carol at Bookluver Carol
Adele at Persnickety Snark

Teasers Tuesday (1)

Idea taken from Fizzy Thoughts

Ransom My Heart by Mia Thermopolis (Meg Cabot)

I googled for fun and accidentally found this ebook. 

"But I know that Lord Hugo would not kill a woman in cold blood. And I know that Lord Hugo would not murder a child. In your cousin, monsieur, I have a found a man of true refinement and chivalry, and ’tis to my shame I did not recognize it before."

"She silenced him with a kiss, though it was hard to do properly while she was laughing so much."

Enough to have you storm into a bookstore and snatch one copy? : P

Monday 26 January 2009

The Bookshelf Meme

I was tagged by Korianne. This sounds fun so I have to give it a try : D

1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers.
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer.
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…

The book that’s been on your shelves the longest

It takes me forever to answer this one. My memories are so bad right now so even though I think it's A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, I'm not really sure. Apart from Charles Dickens books, it's the only classic I loved and read over and over again. I bought A Little Princess because it seemed nice. Back then I didn't judge a book by its cover, but its title.

A book that reminds you of something specific in your life

I got this one for myself right after I had been accepted into university. It was bliss to read again. University Entrance Exam was super duper tough and it stressed me so much that I couldn't even do anything except waiting half a month for the results. This book was like a self-present. Everytime I looked at it I was proud and happy. Like nothing could stop  me if I try with all my heart. You may like this one if you love touching stories.

A book you acquired in some interesting way

It was actually not really interesting, but I had fun. I won this book over Books Boys Buzz. The rule was to leave comments wishing everyone a happy new year (since Perfect Chemistry's release was in the last week of Dec) and you could enter as many times as you liked. I wanted this book so bad that I came back everyday leaving replies in several languages. Seriously, if you've seen the msg board, you'll say I'm a extreme spammer =.= It got like 60+ comments under my name. Marley said I got picked randomly but somehow I thought she was scared I would flood the blog with my comments. (Just joking.)

The most recent addition to your shelves

One of the four I got recently. As I said it was from a soul sister and I couldn't wait to read it. Well, more like I want to read, but I want to save the book for later because my instinct tells me it'll be a good read.

A book that’s been with you to the most places

It's a shame I never finish this one. I bring it along every vacation I take, but until now I'm only halfway : ( I wish it was as cool as other James Pattison books though.

A bonus book that you want to talk about but doesn’t fit into the other questions

I read this book in Vietnamese because they don't have an English version for it. Marc Levy had been real popular for a long time but not until later did I find out about him. This one was best of the best. The only book that made me sleepless for two nights. It started in a strange way and ended with so much nostalgic feelings. If you could read in French, you should get this. I strongly recommended Ou Es Tu? (Will You Be There?)

Okay so here I tagged:

Lenore at Presenting Lenore
Chelsea at The Page Flipper
Nadine at Starry Night

: )

In My Mailbox (2)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

It's the second week I got to include this feature and I'm extremely happy! I received some books from my soul sister Sophia and my friend Bhebie last week. These are very very very late New Year presents.

Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt. 

There are two sides to every breakup.

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.
Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.
It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

This is ridiculous to admit but even though I've not read this one, I'm crazy about it. I came across Two Way Street as browsing Amazon Young Adult book section and the cover caught my attention. Then I read the synopsis and BAM, I'm obsessed. The story starts from a break up so it's like exploring the relationship from the end to the very beginning.

I Heart You You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder.

Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back...
...sort of.

Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear hisvoice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she'scrazy, but she knows he's here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

Recommended by my friend Debbie. I've never read any novel in poems so this book makes me extremely curious. And it sounds sad. I'm a sucker for sad stories : ( 

Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott.

Kate Brown's life has gone downhill fast. Her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall, and Kate is forced to work with him. Her best friend has become popular, and now she acts like Kate's invisible.

And then there's Will. Gorgeous, unattainable Will, whom Kate acts like she can't stand even though she can't stop thinking about him. When Will starts acting interested, Kate hates herself for wanting him when she's sure she's just his latest conquest.

Kate figures that the only way things will ever stop hurting so much is if she keeps to herself and stops caring about anyone or anything. What she doesn't realize is that while life may not always be perfect, good things can happen—but only if she lets them....

Somehow it's typical and predictable but I'm still excited. Perhaps it's partly because this is the first Elizabeth book I got to own. I've wanting to read her stories for a while but there're none to be found here in Vietnam.

Change Of Heart by Jody Picoult

Can we save ourselves, or do we rely on others to do it? Is what we believe always the truth?

One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen.

For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him. Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June's eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child.

Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love? Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy's dying wish?

Once again, Jodi Picoult mesmerizes and enthralls readers with this story of redemption, justice, and love.

Bhebie said she wanted me to read this because it was really great. Judging from the cover and the summary I could agree with her right away.

So what about you? What've you got this week?

Thought I Should Say

happy chinese new year!!!!

I know many of you guys don't celebrate Chinese New Year but because it's such a special occasion, I have to share the joy. Hopefully everyone will have a fabulous year of the ox with happiness, love and success.

I can't wait to get my red pockets : D

Sunday 25 January 2009

Sunday Special (2) I Want To Be A Princess Too

The title speaks itself. This post will be dedicated to Princess Diaries Vietnamese versions. Here are the beautiful covers:

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These were released by H2T - the most popular teen magazine in Vietnam. The first came out in December 2007 and was loved both by teens and tweens. So far we have had 7 books and each was unfailingly sold with some bonus gift - an online English course member card, a poster or small calendars, which absolutely rocks. Meg Cabot posted one of these covers on her blog too, she said she liked how the artist portrayed Michael - hotter than she expected : )

Friday 23 January 2009

Pants On Fire by Meg Cabot

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: June 2008
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: paperback
Source: purchased

Katie Ellison is not a liar.

It's just that telling the truth is so . . . tricky. She knows she shouldn't be making out with a drama club hottie behind her football-player boyfriend's back. She should probably admit that she can't stand eating quahogs (clams), especially since she's running for Quahog Princess in her hometown's annual Quahog Festival. And it would be a relief to finally tell someone what really happened the night Tommy Sullivan is a freak was spray-painted on the new wall outside the junior high school gymnasium—in neon orange, which still hasn't been sandblasted off. After all, everyone knows that's what drove Tommy out of town four years ago.

But now Tommy Sullivan has come back. Katie is sure he's out for revenge, and she'll do anything to hang on to her perfect (if slightly dishonest) existence. Even if it means telling more lies than ever. Even if, now that Tommy's around, she's actually—no lie—having the time of her life.

This is the first Meg Cabot book that I read and it gave me so much fun. Meg was well-known for her sense of humor and this story was definitely a great proof. I was really surprised how she cracked me up simply with some words.

Katie's character was really interesting. I disliked her at first; she seemed too pretentious, boy-crazed and silly to me. Besides, the fact that Katie was a two-timer was sort of shocking (maybe because it came right after very few first chapters). She also hid a secret about our male lead, which I was certain wasn't a nice thing either. But then the story progressed and Katie started to grow on me. It turned out that she was just a normal teenager who was trying to be with the right guy, to follow her dreams of becoming a photographer, and to fit in a town where Quahogs - whom she hated - ruled. Katie was too scared to be herself because it might change her life and how people looked at her.

I think it's somehow relatable to us teenagers. I bet you have at least once hid your real self just because you don't want to be an outcast for thinking or acting different, just like Katie. On the other hand, there are still a lot of Tommy Sullivan out there who stood up for what he believed. I adored Tommy alot, not only was he charming and caring, he was really brave as well. He did the right thing for justice even though the consequence was his going away from hometown.

Let me tell you what I like the most of this story: Katie and Tommy's strong bond. Even though Katie herself knew she betrayed her best friend, she did take his side for once, in a strange but sweet way. And Tommy, instead of coming back to take revenge on Katie, helped her reveal to the world the Katie only he saw. And realized who she was truly in love with.

I'm sure you'll go back and forth between "hahaha" and "awww" on reading this book.

Rating: 4/5

Did you know? The book was originally named Tommy Sullivan Is A Freak but Harper Teen changed it to Pants On Fire. (I think it's a wise move because Tommy is too hot to be a freak ; P )

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Waiting On Wednesday (1)

Idea taken from Breaking The Spine

Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian.

Emily is ready for a change. She's been in the same town with the same friends for a long time...and none of them really understand her art. But when she goes to Philadelphia for a summer art institute, she suddenly finds like-minded people. One in particular, Fiona, intrigues and challenges her. But there are some things Emily is going to have to find out for herself — like what the balance is between life and art, and which is more important when push comes to shove.

Not the most interesting one in the world but this book promises a lot of exploration on art, like how it effects lives of those who are devoted to it and the likes. You know,  sometimes artists are so passionate to pursue their dreams that they completely forget everything else  - some of which may be just as important and valuable to them.

Same Difference will hit the stores in March 2009.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

In My Mailbox (1)

Idea taken from The Story Siren

Not actually came by mail but these are two books I got this week. After a lot of bribing, begging, nagging and even threatening, I finally convinced my friend Debbie to let me borrow her precious books which she herself hasn't finished.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. 

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. 

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

In one short week . . . three lives change.

Rhiannon is devastated after the breakup with her boyfriend and wants him back. 

Nicole's ex is still in the picture, but she can't help having a new crush. 

James and Rhiannon are just friends, though he may try to take it to the next level. 

Will their desire to take a mean girl down a notch bring these three friends what they want . . . and more?

Set during one life-altering week and told in three realistic perspectives, this engaging, witty novel by the author of When It Happens shows the ups and downs of love, friendship-and karma.

I've been dying to read Th1rteen R3easons Why. The synopsis got me hooked immediately. Besides there were so many praises for Jay and his debut novel. Take Me There sounds good too, in a different kind of way of course.

Monday 19 January 2009

In Too Deep Trailer

I love this trailer, so professional and exciting. You'll want to rush to the nearest store to get a copy of In Too Deep after watching it.

Credits to Signing Up Again at Youtube and Jennifer Banash.

Sunday 18 January 2009

Sunday Special (1) Old & New

irst off, thanks everyone for your support!!! It's such a honor for me to be welcomed with such warmth from other book bloggers. I really appreciate your commenting on my posts, following me and adding me to the blogroll, especially Joycelyn who mentioned my site in her New Blogger Alerts post. I love you all<333>

Anyway this is officially my first week of Sunday Special. Every weekend I'll post something I find interesting to share. It could be Lookalike covers, English written books that haven been translated and published in Vietnam, or just a random book-related story from my country, anything I feel worth paying attention to.

So...this time it will be the cover collection of Sarah Dessen books, both first and reissue versions.

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That Summer

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Someone Like You

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Keeping The Moon

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Lock And Key

Which of the two covers of each book is your favorite? I pick all the reissue editions except for Dreamland. The girl picture seemed to have a stronger impression on me than the peir (is it a pier?).  I also like the first edition of Someone Like You, yet nowhere can it beat the second.

Bonus: UK versions!!!

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Pretty hey? There's also This Lullaby, but I couldn't find a decent-sized picture T.T it's really beautiful.

Thursday 15 January 2009

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: April 2006
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: paperback
Source: borrowed

Macy's summer stretches before her, carefully planned and outlined. She will spend her days sitting at the library information desk. She will spend her evenings studying for the SATs. Spare time will be used to help her obsessive mother prepare for the big opening of the townhouse section of her luxury development. But Macy's plans don't anticipate a surprising and chaotic job with Wish Catering, a motley crew of new friends, or ... Wes. Tattooed, artistic, anything-but-expected Wes. He doesn't fit Macy's life at all--so why does she feel so comfortable with him? So ... happy? What is it about him that makes her let down her guard and finally talk about how much she misses her father, who died before her eyes the year before?

This book made me fall in love with Sarah Dessen immediately. Though the plot is not unique and somewhat predictable, there's something in her writing style that intrigued me. My first impression of the story was that the emotions were really well described. From Macy's grief over her Dad's death to her Mum's fear of facing the fact that her husband was long gone; from Wes' feelings towards Macy to her disappointment when she thought he didn't feel the same way; it all touched my heart. What also amazed me was how Sarah managed to pull off pure sadness without a trace of depression.

I love all the characters. Excluding Macy's boyfriend Jason who was totally a jerk (like who else in this world would accuse his girlfriend of being clingy just because she signed her email with a simple "I love you"?), his father and the two girls at the library, everyone else was likable. Perhaps some didn't appear on many scenes nor say much, yet they suddenly shone at the right moment. My favorite one besides Wes and Macy must be Kristy. Even with those awful scars all over her body, she was always strong and confident, not to mention being really wise.

What made the book was the relationship of Wes and Macy. They came from different families but coincidently suffered the same pain - a loss of a loved one. I adore the way their mutual feelings grew. It was slow, simple and beautiful. Through work, hanging out and games, even childish Gotcha, they understood each other more and more. I couldn't but feel giggly whenever the Truth game was mentioned, and I'm sure you'll want to have a pencil that smells cinnamon after reading this.

Overall, this is a good book. Its meaningfulness will give you lots of emotions and deep thoughts.

Rating: 4.5/5

Did you know? The Truth About Forever took #2 spot in Teens Top Ten in 2005.

Here comes Serene Hours

Whenever you come to a bookshop and pick up a book, what's the first thing you'll look for? For me it's always the editorial reviews. Nothing, even the cover, can give us as exact synopsis and strong impression as the reviews. It's amazing that in just a limited number of words they convey the whole complicated plot, indicate characters' personalities and so on. They also play an important part in our decisions on whether to buy the books or not. I've constantly wondered how reviewers could do such a thing and somehow wanted to try. However, not until recently did I find reviewing so much fun and interesting. A few weeks ago I was googling for fun and unexpectedly came across Reader Rabbit. There I started to discover a HUGE community of online reviewers. I visited lots of sites, found out unique and creative features and suddenly it crossed my mind that I could join the fun too. And TADA, this blog was born!

I'm inexperienced and kinda clueless at this kind of thing but thanks to a lot of help of other book bloggers, especially Lenore, Chelsea, Nadine and Kristy, I finally managed to figure out what to do. Here I'm gonna post my reviews of YA books  (sometimes MG or Chicklits) and anything book-related. I hope you guys will join me and help build up my site : D