Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

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Seven Book Babes (8)

August 30, 2009

I discuss:

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Ghost in the Machine (Skeleton Creek #2) by Patrick Carman

Enjoy!

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Sprout by Dale Peck

July 4, 2009

 Title: Sprout

 Author: Dale Peck

 Release: May 26, 2009

 Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books

 Contains: Coming-of-age, Drama, Relationships.

Analysis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):

Writing: 10

Plot: 8

Characters: 9

Wow Factor: 8

Summary (from Amazon.com): Sprout Bradford has a secret. It’s not what you think—he’ll tell you he’s gay. He’ll tell you about his dad’s drinking and his mother’s death. The green fingerprints everywhere tell you when he last dyed his hair. But neither the reader nor Sprout are prepared for what happens when Sprout suddenly finds he’s had a more profound effect on the lives around him than he ever thought possible. Sprout is both hilarious and gripping; a story of one boy at odds with the expected.

Review: Sprout was definitely an interesting read. The number one thing I loved about the book was the writing. Dale Peck is amazing, with his metaphors, similies, and way of wording. I highlighted lines of the book I loved and I never write in books. The book is written as if Sprout is just having a conversation about his life to us, and it was magical in that perspective. I really liked the other characters as well: Ty, Ian, and Ruth. The story line was one I don’t often read: Sprout was trying to win a state essay contest, he’s still having problems getting over his mother’s death, and he might just have found love. This book may have been playfully written but it does have a dark side. There’s a lot of real-life problems discussed in this book, including death, abuse, and broken relationships. My one complaint is that it was a tad confusing as I’m still thinking about the end and what it means.

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Leah by J.M Reep

April 19, 2009

 Title: Leah

 Author: J.M Reep

 Release: March 22, 2009

 Publisher: Lulu

 Edition/ Number of Pages: Paperback, 229

 Contains: Coming-of-age, Drama, Relationships.

Analysis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):

Writing: 8

Plot: 8

Characters: 9

Wow Factor: 7

Leah Nells is a fourteen-year-old girl who doesn’t quite know how to deal with the social aspect of the world. Throughout most of her life, she has been quiet and introverted. She doesn’t have any friends and spends most of her time reading books. Leah’s parents try–without any success–to get her to meet society’s standards, but even casually talking to people is not as easy for Leah.

At the beginning of the book, Leah is entering high school. Of course, this brings a lot of anxiety on her because she encounters other teenagers who don’t understand the way she is. And then comes David Parks, who is a boy from Leah’s history class that she becomes infatuated with. Leah is tongue-tied around him, but gosh how she likes him. Will Leah find the courage to be the person she wants to be? And just who is that person?

This is one of those under-the-radar books that is purely awesome. It was first published in 1996, but a new, revised copy was released in March. The book was a pleasure to read. I loved Leah, the main character, a lot. Whenever she felt bad about her introversion it made me sad. This is probably because I can connect with the person Leah is. For one, I love to read books like she does. Also, although I’m not as extremely introverted as she is, I still am somewhat. I know what Leah felt: like she wasn’t good enough for the world; like no one understood her. As for the characters, they were very credible. From Leah, to Leah’s parents, to David, and the others. The shy-girl interpretation of Leah was fulfilled correctly by Reep. I will say that this book does not reach a high climax, and that it’s main plot is not that intense, but it is still a great read. Above everything, the thing I loved the most was the ending. It was just impacting and made me lie in bed, thinking about what this book is truly all about: accepting yourself. Of course, you won’t know the ending unless you read it!

You can buy it or READ IT FOR FREE AS A PDF FILE here

P.S: Wait around for an interview with the author of Leah, J.M Reep, soon!

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Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

January 20, 2009

Title: Skeleton Creek

Author: Patrick Carman

Release Date: Feb. 10, 2009.

Edition: Paperback

Number of Pages: 186.

Grade: B

Contains: Coming-of-age, Relationships, Drama, Suspense, Mystery.

Analysis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):

Writing: 8

Plot: 9

Characters: 8

Wow Factor: 8

Summary (scholastic.com): Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek … and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam to search things out … and then emails the clips for Ryan to see. 

In a new, groundbreaking format, the story is broken into two parts — Ryan’s text in the book, and Sarah’s videos on a special website, with links and passwords given throughout the book.

Review: This book is the first of its kind. Targeted to reluctant readers, it asks that you read twenty pages of Ryan’s thoughts and adventures and your “reward” is to watch a video made by Sarah that relates to it. It’s a ghost story. I bet you’re wondering if it’s good enough to make your knees shake? I truthfully was scared throughout the book. I think the videos had a great impact in my whole perception of the book because I could view what Ryan was talking about in his journal. The videos just make it that much more like you’re really there, witnessing whatever this ghost is.

While I was reading it I had the sense that it was kind of like National Treasure meets lonelygirl15. It was short, quick, and effective. 

But I did have some problems with it. What if you’re not by a computer when you’re reading? This happened to me more than once. So I tried watching the video through my iPhone, but it didn’t work. Another thing is that I wished the supporting characters had been more developed. I felt as though I didn’t truly know them as much as I knew Ryan and Sarah and hope that in the next book there will be more explanation about them.

The ending was a total cliffhanger. But I do think it’s one more step to getting reluctant readers to pick up the second book in the series. And perhaps the piece that makes it that much more interactive is that this book is being speculated to be real over at skeletoncreekisreal.com

I recommend this book to boys 9-13 who don’t really enjoy reading. But if you’re like me– a total ghost stories and suspense fan– you’ll really get a kick out of this.

Want to watch a book trailer? Here ya go:


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Girl vs. Bear: Stories from the 80s by Lisa Kerr

January 8, 2009

 Title: Girl vs. Bear: Stories from the 80s

 Author: Lisa Kerr

 Edition: Paperback

 Number of Pages: 114

 Grade: B+

 

 Contains: Coming-of age, Short Stories, Romance, Relationships, Drama.

 

Analysis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):

Writing: 9

Plot: This book is made up of short stories, overall- 8.

Characters: 9

Wow: 9

 

Summary (from booksurge.com): These provocative short stories follow a series of teenage heroines coming of age in the 1980’s—a decade full of big hair, make-out parties, material girls, and radical surfers. The young women here grapple with the mysteries of young love, sex, death, and parents. With humor and generosity, Kerr investigates what it means to be an adolescent girl as her protagonists face down bad reputations, drunken perverts, fistfights and, of course, killer bears.

Review: This book was a great look at life in the 80s. Lisa Kerr truly knows what she’s writing about. My favorite story was Knife Fights which is about a girl who’s best friend is both her friend and her rival. All of the stories described important subjects which are relevant for the time era and even now like friends, rivals, boys, and music. They really got down to the detail of touch, smell, sight, which made me feel like I was right there watching it unfold in front of me. The stories had strong and very relatable characters. Girl vs. Bear is mostly written in second-person, using “you”. It is normally not used in books, and Lisa Kerr knew how to use it well. I cannot wait for her to publish again, short stories or chapter books. You really need to get your hands on this.    

Wait around for an interview with Lisa Kerr… she’s really down-to-earth and interesting, I promise!


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Fly On The Wall by E. Lockhart

December 26, 2008

Title: Fly on the Wall

Author: E. Lockhart

Edition: Harcover

Number of Pages:182.

Grade: C+

Contains: Coming-of-age, Drama, Romance, Relationships.

 

Anaylis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):
Writing: 7
Plot: 9
Characters: 8
Wow: 7

 

Summary: This book deals with a girl named Gretchen Yee who is very much antisocial. She only has one true friend, Katya, until she starts “being busy.” Gretchen is the ordinary girl at Manhattan High School for the Arts, a school where everybody strives to be different. On a usual day Gretchen is flustered-maybe about her ex Shane who is not “the new guy” anymore but the popular one or that her dad is divorcing her mom because he found a new girlfriend- and wonders why guys are the way they are. As silly as it may sound, she says she wishes she could be a fly on the boys’ locker room. Little does she know… the next day she wakes up and she’s a fly! She uses her new-found body to spy on the males in her class and home, including her crush Titus. She sees that guys do have problems and even feelings. If and when she turns back into a human, will she see things differently?  

Review: I enjoyed this book, sure, but it was definitely not E. Lockhart’s best. It was whatever, truthfully. I thought the characters were different than the typical ones used in YA books. They were cool, and I could relate to Grethen. I especially liked Titus. One thing that I kinda don’t understand is what happens with Carlo/Xavier/Gunther. What’s the point in having them in the book? I do kind of want to be a fly… because who doesn’t want to know what the boys in our lives do. The ending was rather predictable but still happy and cute. It was quick and easy, so I recommend it for a nice summer read.

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Far From You by Lisa Schroeder

December 23, 2008

 Title: Far From You

Author: Lisa Schroeder

Edition: Paperback

Number of Pages: 368

Grade: B+

Contains: Coming-of-Age, Drama, Fantasy, Relationships, Romance.

Analysis of Book (1-10 on each aspect):

Characters: 10

Plot: 9

Writing: 10

Wow Factor: 9

 

Since Sunday, a very special release has been in the making… leading up to today. First Liv posted her VLOG, reading her favorite excerpt from the book. Then I posted my VLOG yesterday. And today Lisa has posted her VLOG. I hope you have checked those all out and entered the contest. Lisa’s book Far From You released today. HAPPY RELEASE DAY, LISA!!!! (Wish Lisa a happy release day at the link of her VLOG.) Make sure you go to the bookstore today or ask Santa for the book under the tree. Just make sure you read this book, because you will NOT be disappointed.

 

Summary (from lisaschroederbooks.com): Do you believe in angels? FAR FROM YOU is a story of love and loss, and reminds us what’s really important in life. Fans of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME are sure to enjoy this novel-in-verse feauturing 16-year-old Alice, a singer/songwriter who’s had her share of hard times, and unfortunately, has more to come. What will pull her through? Her music? The love of her boyfriend, Blaze? Or perhaps, an angel, here on earth?

 

ReviewIf I could sum up this book in one word the word would be “beautiful”. We’re told this heart-wrenching story of a girl named Alice who lost her mother to cancer and isn’t as connected to her dad now that he has remarried and is expecting a new baby. Alice’s emotions definitely come across strongly. I felt bad for Alice, I wanted to do something to help her.

I could totally relate to the story because I have a stepmom and half-siblings also. Everything Alice goes through in the book, I understood how hard it must be for her and for her family. I truly believe girls in this world are like Alice proving that Lisa Schroeder knows how to create authentic characters. Oh, and yes there is fantasy in the book… it’s just very subtle. That is something I was very glad to see because you all already know I’m not a fantasy-junkie. It was a good amount and it entailed a phenomenal message.

Since it is told in verse, it is a quick read. I read it in one sitting. But truthfully, I had to stop more then once to think about what was occurring. This is not a cute summer read; it is really an impacting read. Lisa Schroeder KNOWS how to write. She knows how to write very well… the words she chooses, the way she organizes them s l o w l y and carefully. I want her to continue writing… I’m definitely a fan. 

In the end, I was a bigger person. I cried, but I was still a bigger person. I felt more of a connection even with my own stepmom and went and told her about the book. This book is something I veryyyyy highly recommend. So, what the heck are you waiting for? Go BUY IT!