Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Going Too Far ~ Jennifer Echols

Going Too Far
MTV Books
March 17, 2009
256 Pages

After a night of trouble with her friends, Meg is forced to spend Spring Break riding along in the police car with the cop who caught them. Nothing could be worse for Meg, the girl who wants nothing more than to get out of her small Alabama town and away from the diner her parents run. And Spring Break is when all the Seniors had planned to go to Miami...and now they still are, just without Meg.

John, the cop Meg just knows has a wife and eight kids at home waiting on him, catches Meg and a few friends on the bridge, the bridge that no one's supposed to be on because a few years ago some kids died on it. But Meg is always one to push the limits so a few rules are nothing to her.

They are to John After, though. And Meg's determined to find out just why the rules, the laws...and especially the bridge mean so much to Officer After during her little ride alongs. Annoying him is the least she can do after he took Miami away from her, after all.

I didn't really know a lot about this book when I decided to read it, just that for some reason, the main character had to ride around with a cop and then stuff happened. I don't think I've ever been happier to know so close to nothing about a book.

I love Jennifer Echols after reading this book, I think. Both Officer John After and Meg had a lot of depth to them that made it possible for so much of the book to be focused on just the two of them and the conversations between them. The side characters all brought something unique to the story and affected the outcome of different parts of the story in their own way, no one really seemed to be just filler.

In some ways it's a hard book to summarize and even review without saying every little thing that happened and how fantastic it was...What it all does boil down to is that the two main characters were so well done, deveoloped and rounded that the story just worked. I know...think Breakfast Club and the way everyone sits so much and just talks... ecause they're so different but so not, that's why the movie works, right? Well that's also why this book works.

I'll take an itty bitty bit off because the amazingness took a little while to get going (I read a few pages and then read another book or two before going back to it and really getting into it).

I don't reread books really ever, but I just might reread this one sometime.

10/10 for this one because I ♥ it

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In My Mailbox Monday (sort of)

Between the holiday week and getting sick I'm all off on my days! Please excuse my Monday event happening on Tuesday...

I won Ghost Huntess and The Other Side: A Teen's Guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal from a contest Marley Gibson had at Books, Books, & Buzz and those came this last week.

And also, I was having some sort of forgetful moment last week because while I did get the books in Miami that I listed, I also ordered some other books that came while I was in Miami, too:

Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl; Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz; Everwild by Neal Shusterman

Monday, November 16, 2009

In My Mailbox Monday

While I didn't get any books in the mail this week, I did get some books signed at the Miami Book Fair and even bought two new books for me (and one for someone else)....and now that I know how the whole thing works, I should be able to go next year and be able to manage my time and money better and buy some more then :)

bought new for me & got signed:
Riding the Universe by Gaby Triana
I'd Rather We Got Casinos by Larry Wilmore (think Daily Show...)

bought for someone else (yay Christmas) & got signed:
Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
Beastly by Alex Flinn

that I already had, but got signed
Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph (I was going to buy someone one for Christmas but they sold out a few hours before so I bought something else)
Beastly by Alex Flinn

I have some picutes of, I believe all of the above authors and one or two more that may or may not be decent that I'll try to get into a post during the next week

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Size 12 Is Not Fat ~ Meg Cabot review

Miami Book Fair International review
Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery
Avon A
December 27, 2005
368 Pages

Heather Wells is an ex-popstar. Maybe not of the same calibar or notariety as Britney Spears or even Christina Aguilera but teen and tween girls still had her poster on their walls and she was the live in girlfriend of a boybander.

Now, though, at twenty eight, Heather's lost the record deal, she's lost the boyfriend, her mother's run off with her fortune, she's gained some weight (hence the book title), and she's working in a New York City dorm---correction, residence hall.

Life's pretty ordinary: going to work, dreaming up scenarios where her landlord/neighbor and ex-boyfriend's brother suddenly falls in love with her, etc until girls start dying in the dorm. Everyone else believes the deaths are accidents, but Heather thinks there's more to them. And with a PI as a landlord/boss/secret-crush/future-husband-only-he-doesn't know-it, she knows they can investigate.

Can Heather convince Cooper (boss man) the case is worth investigating? And, perhaps more importantly, can she keep herself alive while doing so?

It might not surprise others s much as me, but Meg Cabot can apparently write mysteries as well as her other books and as well as dedicated mystery writers do. In terms of the 'mystery' (the development, the clues, the suspense, the red herrings, the eventual conclusion/solving of the mystery), it was great and very well done--better than some other mysteries I've read.

It did take me a little while to get into the book, compared with some of the other Meg Cabot books I've read it didn't just grab me from the very first page but once I really got into it I, well, was really into it. The characters introduced in this book were great and can easily last for a three book series.

The mixture of the music/entertainment business (and those characters) and the residence hall and its characters made for a lot of fun interaction---and a great and very unique character in Heather.

I still need to read my other Queen of Babble books, but now I have the Heather Wells books to add on to my TBR list!

(and this book is not YA but I think it could easily work for anyone over maybe 12 or 13 because in terms of 'adult content' it's really rather tame-I can be more specific if anyone's curious on that front.)


*Book One (of Three) in the Heather Wells Mystery Series

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Becoming Billie Holiday ~ Carole Weatherford review

Miami Book Fair International review
Becoming Billie Holiday
(Ffloyd Cooper-illustrator)
October 2008
117 Pages

Most people have not heard of Eleanora Fagan. But most people have heard of Billie Holiday. (Okay, so in Clueless she loved 'him' but we shouldn't base everyone on Cher, should we?) The fact is, Eleanora Fagan is the birth name of Billie Holiday. One of the many, many things that you learn reading Becoming Billie Holiday, the fictionalized, told in verse autobiography of Billie Holiday by Weatherford. But you never feel like you're being taught things, that's what's so perfect about the book.

Covering Billie Holiday's tough life up until the age of twenty-five in different poems, all titled with Billie Holiday song titles Becoming is a fantastic tale. While it is fictionalized, there was a lot of research done so it's not just made up facts of Holiday's life.

It stops short of the time that she really got into drugs, covering just the 'happier' times of her life but you still learn about all of the hardships Billie Holiday went through--some that I found hard to believe, but are in fact true.

Carole Boston Weatherford has great writing and the first person poem's really connect you to Billie Holiday much better, I think, than some other form of telling her story might. I'm really interested in reading some of her other books now.

While this book does cover someone's life that wasn't all roses and puppies by any means, I think it would be a suitable read for anyone from middle grade to adults.

If you do read it, I'd suggest that you read all of the notes in the back where Weatherford explains why she wrote the book the way she did and why she covered the time period of Holiday's life that she did--it was interesting.

And the artwork of the book is also explained. Cooper's art is really beautiful and the way it's done just seems to fit Billie Holiday's music in it's style and having the illustrations added to the telling of the story.

It was a quick read and one you definitely won't be sorry you picked up.

10/10 for this

(tagging this nonfiction and fiction because while it's listed as fiction, it is somewhat 'non')
And again, the cover will be added as soon as I have my computer internet-y again to add pics.

Temptress Four ~ Gaby Triana review

Miami Book Fair International review
The Temptress Four
April 29, 2008
Harper Teen
256 Pages

To celebrate their high school graduation, four longtime friends: Yoli, Killian, Alma, and Fiona are going on a cruise. But the night before they're set to leave, at their school's graduation celebration, they decide to see the fair's fortune teller. Instead of predicting luck and good fortune for them she forsees eight says of strife and storms. And that only one of them will return from their voyage.

The girls try to play off her predictions but they're all anxious, after all, no one told her about the eight day cruise they were about to embark on. Or that they were even friends. For all she knew they could have been four girls who were hanging out at the graduation celebration and came into her tent for a bit of fun.

But they aren't--they're all best friends so they're a bit on edge during they're tropical getaway, worried that everytime they lose track of one of the girls, they'll never see her again.

Will one of them actually fail to make it back home? Will there be trouble on the cruise or was the old fortune teller woman just full of it?

The Temptress Four was a fun read. It was really easy to see all of the girls as friends. They weren't all cookie cutter carbon copies of each other but they also weren't so opposite that you couldn't figure out how on Earth they'd ever decided to be friends. They were different but similar enough that their friendships made sense (like actual friendships).

And the descriptions of the different places they went on the cruise was great, too--it really made me want to go on a vacation! It was nice that the girls did different things each place and didn't just go to the beaches or kayaking in each stop of the ship.

I thought I knew how the story would end for a good bit of the book but that didn't stop me from enjoying reading it. I still liked the progression of the story because of what happened between the girls even though I was, in fact, right about what happened in the end.

I plan to read more of Gaby Triana's books soon and I'm glad I finally read this one!


(same deal with the cover for this one--when I have internet back on my computer and can save pics, I'll add it)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Psych Major Syndrome ~ Alicia Thompson review

Miami Book Fair International review
Psych Major Syndrome
August 11, 2009
336 Pages
Hyperion Books

Leigh Nolan is a freshman at the not so average Stiles College (students sign contracts saying how many courses they'll pass in a given semester, create classes, etc) and is taken Into to Psychology. She knows how to psychoanalyze everyone else but it just might be Leigh that needs the analyzing.

With the boyfriend from high school she's been dating for over a year (who's attending Stiles as well) but hasn't had sex with and the eccentric parents who read Taro cards and run an eccentric bed and breakfast, Leigh's far from normal.

But things are about to get ever more confusing when college really gets going and relationships change and new ones form.

Psych Major Syndrome isn't the easiest book to summarize because it's really just about Leigh's first year of college and how her life changes and how her Psych class works into it all. I wasn't really sure I wanted to read the book at first--probably because I was so unsure what it was about. And I'll admit that the first half of the book took me a while to get through but the second half of the book is where I really started to enjoy it.

Leigh's family and her roommate Ami are kind of crazy and the other maybe five secondary characters all have little neuroses of their own that make it fun to have them included in the story.

The book was well written and humorous and also realistic, but as I said, the first half of the book was slow for me. I don't know if it was the plot or that it was setting things up...or something else but I definitely enjoyed the end of the book much more.

7/10 (though really it's more a 6/10 and an 8/10 that average to a 7)

*I don't have my computer now--the hotel doesn't have free internet so I can't save things, I'll add a cover photo Sunday-ish when I'm home.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shrinking Violet ~ Danielle Joseph review

Miami Book Fair International review
Shrinking Violet
MTV Books
May 5, 2009
320 Pages

Teresa 'Tere' Adams is shy. Not the kind that's cute and makes you blush when a hot guy looks at you or gives you butterfiles in your stomach when you have to stand up and give a speech in front of class. Tere is the kind of shy that turns your throat into a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff glob everytime someone asks you a question, the kind where you freeze up anytime you even think someone might be going to maybe, at some point, someday put you on the spot. Pretty bad, right?

So then, it wouldn't really make sense that she dreams of being a DJ, a real, live radio DJ. But she does, it's Tere's absolute dream in life. She's never really told anyone besides her one friend. But every night with her ipod on and headphones in, seh practices in the safety of her room.

So, when the opportunity arises, Tere surprises everyone, but herself most of all, by snagging the job of intern at her stepfather's radio station. At last, Sweet T is born.

Only, Sweet T becomes someone everyone knows but no ones knows is Tere and soon there's a problem involving a contest with a prize to meet Ter--errr, Sweet T. Can Tere do it?

With Danielle Joseph's amazing character or Tere who was so different from the typical character who has four guys tripping over her and so terribly ordinary that she was fantastically extraordinary that I loved her to bits, Shrinking Violet is really not one to miss. There were crazy/eccentric characters (including Tere's mom) that only added to the story and helped explain why Tere was how she was. And all the radio personalities were perfect and so like the people that actually are on the radio that you just had to love them, even the ones that you wouldn't love if they were on your radio!

I definitely hope Danielle Joseph is able to write more books for us all to read because this really is a great debut full of humor and fantastically developed characters that grow throughout the story. Sure you might see the ending coming but only in the way of those early 2000's teen movies where you likely knew how it would end but that didn't stop the getting to the end from being anymore fun, did it? Not for me, that's for sure.

Shrinking Violet is definitely one to read and you should also buy it so that MTV Books will reprint it! (see?) It's only $7.92 right now.


and a huge thank you to Lisa who's doing all the MBFI stuff and the publisher for getting the book to me!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taken ~ Edward Bloor review

Miami Book Fair International review
Knopf Books for Young Readers
256 Pages
December 8, 2009*

It's the year 2035 in Florida and kidnapping is a booming business. At least among the rich. Those who live in gated communities, never leaving for anything (not for work, school or shopping, even) guarded by Glock carrying guards know that, if they're a child/teen it's likely only a matter of time before they're kidnapped.

But no one fears kidnapping as much anymore: pay the ransom within twenty-four hours and the child's returned home.

Taken is the tale of thirteen-year-old Charity's kidnapping...and what goes wrong. Edward Bloor has created not quite a dystopian future--at least not for the rich portion of the world. But everyone else is cut off from the well to do and there are once again servants who are much closer to slaves--it's a truly segregated world.

I enjoyed the parts of the story that focused on the current happenings and Charity's kidnapping and the discussion of the society then but there was a lot of Charity thinking back to things that involved some 'history lessons' that slowed the story down for me. I think the book could have been stronger either without as much of those 'flashbacks' or if they'd worked in better...

Taken seemed to have a fair amount in common with Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series and some of Neal Shusterman's books in the way that they all look at what the future could be like through the eyes of a teen and use the past to really demonstrate both how close it is to where we are and how far. I don't think Taken worked as well as either Uglies or, say, Everlost but if you've read those and are looking for something similar, Taken is an enjoyable book to read.

I will try some more of Edward Bloor's books because there was a lot of creativity is this book and also quite a bit of unexpectedness.


*I read the hardcover, but I'm linking/giving the info for the paperback since it's coming out in the next month

Miami Book Fair International (blogging schedule)

to go along with Miami Book Fair International happening this week (started on Sunday, actually, and ends this coming Sunday) I'm going to review some books by authors attending the fair:

MBFI Book Sp(l)ot Review Schedule
Wednesday: Taken by Edward Bloor
Thursday: Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
Friday: Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
Saturday: Temptress Four by Gaby Triana
also Saturday: Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford
Sunday: Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

(I'll add links once the reviews get posted)

all of the above authors will be at the fair over the weekend-the entire schedule (which shows how Jeannette Walls was there yesterday when I had a class so I couldn't go and get a book signed by her despite my plans to do so and give it to a specific someone for Christmas (; ) is here. The above authors are all on Saturday the 14th, I believe.

I am planning on going to Miami today and then seeing just what the whole thing is all about (and of course seeing some authors and bookish things). Hopefully I'll be able to get some pictures, at least, to share once I come back.

Whether anyone else out there in bloggy reading land is able to go to the Miami Fair or not (this year) I hope you'll at least read the reviews and keep your eyes out for the Fair next year--hey, it's Miami!

[Photos thanks to the MBFI website :)]

Friday, November 6, 2009

Video Veneris

Barnes and Noble had the Teen Book Video Awards (voting's closed now but the winner's announced on the 11th) and that's where I found this super fabulous trailer made for Fallen by Lauren Kate

Here's the link for the page at (there are also trailers for Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn and the Maze Runner by James Dashner and some bits about the trailers' filmakers.

Monday, November 2, 2009

In My Mailbox Monday

The Sky Always Hears Me: And the Hills Don't Mind by Kristin Cronn-Mills*
Intertwined by Gena Showalter
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Speed Demon by Erin Lynn
Hancock Park by Isabel Kaplan
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Ruined by Paula Morris
Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer
Divine by Mistake by PC Cast*
I Can See You by Karen Rose

These should have been up last week because-except for hte last one-they're all, somehow, from my bithday on the 21st (stil have no idea how I got that many books!)

*There's the slightest possibility you might notice that I also had The Sky Always Hears Me on my Mailbox post last time...I forgot I had it on my little birthday list and bought it then...and got it for my birthday, too--so I took one copy back and got Divine by Mistake in place of it :)
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