May 31, 2012

Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

Title: Shooting Stars
Author: Allison Rushby
Pages: 272
Publisher: Walker Childrens

From Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.

 We meet Jo, LA's tiniest paparazzo, at an event where she's staking out Ned Hartnett, one of LA's most elusive stars.  He doesn't get out much, so photos of him go for big bucks.  Jo's trying to get out of the family biz (her dad's a pap, too) and the money could go a long way towards the serious photography classes she wants to take.  Little does she know there's an even bigger job coming her way - following Ned to a "retreat" (rehab, but for nonspecific issues.  There's no drugs, alcohol, or eating disorder issues in sight.)  As she gets closer to Ned her pesky moral compass keeps pestering her that what she's doing isn't okay.  Does she stay and sell the pictures anyway?  Or does she try and find a way out of the deal she made?

I really enjoy celebrity stories in teen books.  They're the ultimate fantasy.  I mean, who doesn't want to meet a star who is super cute and way into you?  Jo doesn't.  It makes her job incredibly difficult.  I enjoyed wading through this moral dilemma with her.  How much of a celebrity's private life is actually private?  Where is the line?  How far is too far?  I really liked Ned's story (and I'm not going to give anything away, because I thought there was a nice little twist to it.)

It was fun for me to read a story from the POV of a paparazzi because when I went to LA in October I actually got to talk to someone who does that and saw him in action.  It was kind of cool to watch and reading Shooting Stars brought me back there in my mind.  I would recommend this one to anyone looking for a fast, fun read.  It's perfect for summer!

May 30, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (18)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Meant To Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Pub Date: 11.13.12
From Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

May 28, 2012

In My Mailbox (16)

In my Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren

From the library book sale:

First, the embarrassing.
 Okay, that big stack is this series called Love Stories that were where it was at when I was younger.  They're super cheese, but whenever I see any of them I pick them up because I used to love them.  I still read the Christmas one every year.  It was so much cheaper to pick them up this way than buying them individually on ebay.  And how can I pass up books based on Clueless?  I can't, is the answer.

And now the normal...

I love my library book sale because you can fill up a giant bag for $6.  Now I just have to wait until no one is home so I can sneak them into the basement without anyone seeing.

May 27, 2012

Cardboard Characters by Julie Seifert

Title: Cardboard Characters
Author: Julie Seifert
Publisher: Self Published

From Set under the boiling sun of Tampa, Florida, the young adult novel, CARDBOARD CHARACTERS, tells the story of sixteen-year-old Leah Bergan, a girl who knows that you can’t build a boat out of cardboard. And you should trust her on that. She and her best friend, Eddie, have been trying for months. And not just cardboard: plastic, paper, the hood of a junk-yard car. They’re running out of ideas and time.

Time gets even tighter when Leah is accidentally cast as the lead in her high school’s play. Suddenly, Leah is stuck in the spotlight -- and stuck going four hour rehearsals. Instead of being surrounded by the ocean, she’s now surrounded by a bunch of wacky drama kids, who like to stare deeply into the distance and make up stories about doors.

Leah just wants to survive the play without humiliating herself, but the student director, Minerva Watson, has other plans. To Leah, it seems like Minerva only has two goals in life: 1) Turn Leah into an actress, whether she likes it or not and 2) Keep the drama club from getting shut down by the student government. But when one of Minerva’s schemes involves Leah’s friend Eddie, Leah is forced to choose between protecting him and lying to everyone, including her long-lost love, Nathan, or telling the truth and losing everything. Then, of course, things go horribly wrong, and Leah ends up stuck twenty miles outside a town called Christmas, next to a gift store selling alligator meat. But with the help of her crazy cast-mates, Leah might just make it home, take the stage and even finish her boat, learning a little bit about life, love, and character development along the way.

Cardboard Characters is the story of Leah, a girl who wants nothing to do with her school play.  Sadly, she is forced by her drama teacher to actually try out for a role and winds up with the lead in a play about a grown up Alice from Alice in Wonderland.  There's also Eddie, Leah's best friend who may or may not be pretending to be gay in order to be more accepted by the drama kids.  There's a diversity scholarship with Eddie's name on it that is keeping the production afloat and a Student Government that wants the money for other more worthy clubs.  This means that Leah and her crush Nathan (the treasurer of SG) are thrown together more than ever before.  And we can't forget about the cardboard boat Leah and Eddie are trying to perfect and sail away in.

I wish we could have had more time with Leah and Eddie at the beginning of the story.  I wanted to see why they were best friends, the fun times they had together in spite of things being all awkward because he drunkenly confessed his feelings.  I enjoyed the fact that they were trying to build a cardboard boat.  I love when characters do quirky things like that because my friends and I do too.  (We once stayed up all night recreating a "more realistic" version of The Game of Life.  ALL NIGHT.  And then we went to Sonic for breakfast, because what else do you do after staying up all night creating a board game?)

I like how all the elements of this story wound up tying themselves together in the end.  In the middle of reading this one I was a little concerned.  There was a lot happening, but everything came together pretty seamlessly.  Cardboard Characters is a fun, quick read AND is only 99 cents on nook and kindle.  

May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Pub Date: 6.12.12
From  Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

May 22, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (16)

This week's topic:
Top Ten Blogs/Sites You Read That AREN'T about Books

I've been reading this site for years and years and years now.  It's television reviews and they are just hysterical.  It started as a Dawson's Creek recap site and grew from there.  Now, Bravo owns it.  I currently read The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Dancing with the Stars and sometimes the Glee reviews (if I'm bored).    If you're a DC fan, you must read the reviews from back in the day, they're awesome.

 The best of pop culture.  This is my favorite magazine and currently the only one I subscribe to, so of course I read their website.

3. tumblr
 My tumblr is just basically a mosh of everything I love.  It is also incredibly embarrassing, so I don't let many people in my real life see it.  tumblr is also where I got my book blogging start, which I then abandoned to come to Blogger.

Who doesn't have a Facebook these days (I mean, besides my mother).  Some days I feel like it's the worst thing that has ever happened to us as a society, some days I think that's twitter.  Right now I basically use it to play Slingo and to see pictures from my friends.

5.  YouTube
Not technically a site that you read, but I use YouTube all the time.  It's currently feeding my preoccupation with One Direction (they're freaking precious, don't judge me), but it's also a great place to look up commercials from your childhood, theme songs of shows you'll never see again, and the best 90s music videos (See also: this and this.)

RS always has great articles and lists.  I'm constantly on it when I'm bored going through something like the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

So, technically this site has a whole lot to do with books, but I don't care.  I go here mostly for The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars recaps, and I stay for things like the Highly Scientific Analysis of Ben vs. Noel.

I'm constantly on here looking for things to make for dinner.  I lack cooking intuition so I only cook from recipes.  I have found so many amazing ones on this site - like this mac and cheese or these buttermilk pancakes.

9. Amazon
I spend WAY WAY WAY too much time on Amazon.  Where else can you get Nerf darts, Popped Corners, and The Mighty Ducks trilogy all at your pajamas?  Nowhere.

10. Twitter
I know, I hate what it's doing to our lives, but I'll be damned if I don't want to know what Ben Savage sings in the shower.

May 18, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Pages: 318
Publisher: Dutton Books

From Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

I went into this one having heard all the talk about it so I was prepared to be a hysterical mess by the end.   I was not prepared to love it as much as I do.  The Fault in Our Stars is the story of Hazel Grace, a girl with cancer.  She has been terminal since her diagnosis, but a miracle drug has bought her some extra time.  Enter Augustus Waters - the newest addition to my favorite fictional boys list - who Hazel meets at her cancer support group.  It's just another day in the Literal Heart of Jesus, which, by the way, had me laughing out loud.  You had to see me at work reading this book.  I felt like everyone was like, "Oh, look at that girl, chuckling at the cancer kid book."  AWFUL.  But this book is so much more than that.  There's so much humor and so much heart.  It really is as good as everyone says it is.

My favorite thing about this book is that it is totally Gus and Hazel's story, their journey together.  We come into Hazel's life and she's already been diagnosed and the miracle drug has already taken effect.  It's simply the story of a girl and a boy falling in love.  TFiOS is definitely going to have me reaching for more John Green books in the future.  The only other one I've read is Will Grayson, Will Grayson and to say I had a less than positive reaction would be an understatement.  This, though, has shown me that I really do enjoy John Green's writing and am looking forward to reading more by him in the future. 

May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine
Title: Such a Rush
Author: Jennifer Echols
Pub Date: 7.10.12
From A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.    

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.

I've never read any Jennifer Echols before, but I've heard good things.  This seems like a great place for me to start!

May 15, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (15)

This weeks topic:
Top Ten Authors I'd Like To See On A Reality Show

I'm going to tweak this a little bit and put them all on Jeopardy!  I envision it as kind of a combination of the Teen Tournament and Celebrity Jeopardy!  Just think of all the awesome categories that would happen...

The Jeopardy! round:

 Double Jeopardy!:

Final Jeopardy!:

 And lets meet our contestants:
 Meg Cabot
Suzanne Collins
John Green
JK Rowling
Stephanie Perkins
Megan McCafferty
Holly Black
Lauren Oliver
Kieran Scott

Okay, I cheated on those last three because I couldn't find their autographs online, but I'd still want them there.  What a good Jeopardy! tournament that would be.  Who do you guys think would be the winner? 

May 11, 2012

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Title: Chopsticks
Author: Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
Pages: 272
Publisher: Penguin Group USA

After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks."
But nothing is what it seems, and Glory's reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along....

I had no idea what I was in for when I picked up this book.  It was really the size that drew me to it at first.  There aren't many YA books that are coffee table shaped so I wanted to see what Chopsticks was all about.  This is the story of a piano prodigy named Glory who has disappeared.  It begins at the end of the story which only served to make me more interested.  Chopsticks is told in photographs, pictures, and even youtube videos.  There's also an app that goes with the book, but I haven't looked into that yet.  I probably should, because I read this book twice in two days and got totally different things out of it both times I read it.  If anyone's read Chopsticks and wants to chat about it please send me a message.  I've been dying to talk about it with someone.  In fact, I pretty much bugged all of my YA-reading friends to pick it up so I would have people to talk to about it.

Something that I thought was going to be a quick read really kind of forced my brain into overdrive and stayed with me for a long time.  I think it was a fascinating approach to storytelling and I'm so glad that I read it.  I just feel that this is what books are supposed to do.  They're supposed to challenge you and make you be creative and think outside the box.  I loved every minute of the journey that Chopsticks took me on.

May 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (15)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine
Title: Size 12 and Ready to Rock
Author: Meg Cabot
Pub Date: 7.10.12
From Summer break . . . and the livin' ain't easy!
Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn't mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather's ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it's clear that the star was the intended victim.
Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright—who just happens to be Heather's new fiancÉ. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can't help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, this reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.

May 8, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (14)

This week's topic is
Top Ten Favorite Quotes from Books

The last freebie week I did this one so I'm giving you ten new ones this time.

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty

Delirium - Lauren Oliver

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green

White Cat - Holly Black

Black Heart - Holly Black

Bittersweet - Sarah Ockler

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling

I have no shortage of quotes written down, but these kinds of lists always take me the longest to do.  And I'm sure I'm going to see others that I wish I would've chosen.  I can't wait to see what everyone else has picked!

May 6, 2012

Starters - Lissa Price

Title: Starters
Author: Lissa Price
Pages: 352
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than party--her body will commit murder, if her mind can't stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first--the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as enders, who get to be young again. Callie's neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It's a fairy-tale new life . . . until she uncovers the Body Bank's horrible plan. . . .

I'm going to start off by saying that I hadn't read a description of Starters before I read it.  There wasn't even anything on the back of the book (it was an ARC).  That's the first time in a long time, maybe ever, that I've gone into a book totally blind.

You know that adage, youth is wasted on the young?  Not in this book.  Callie is a girl who was orphaned by war and taking care of her little brother, Tyler, on the streets.  In this world there are only Starters (under 20) and Enders (older than 60).  Everyone between was wiped out by the Spore War.  The people left were the ones who were lucky enough to be vaccinated beforehand.  Enders will do just about anything to prolong their lives.  In fact, most of the Enders we meet are obsessed with youthfulness.

This is where Prime Destinations comes in.  They are a company with the technology to make Enders dreams come true.  They "hire" Starters with no family connections (this doesn't sound shady at all) and put a chip in their brains, allowing Enders to rent their bodies and experience youth again.  This is where Callie goes to make the money to get herself, her brother, and her friend Michael off the streets.  Obviously, something goes horribly wrong.  This something is Callie's chip malfunctioning, throwing her into the life of her renter - for better and worse.

Immediately, when I started reading this it reminded me of the short-lived Joss Whedon show Dollhouse, only there people rented the dolls to interact with, not to take over.  I love Joss Whedon stuff, so I knew I would dig this book.  I really enjoyed meeting all the people Callie met while faking being a renter, and I really liked Blake, the senator's grandson.  I wish we could have spent more time with him.  Or Michael for that matter.  For me, the relationship aspect was the weaker part of the book.  I'm sure that being thrown into a caretaker/runaway situation brings you closer together, but I wanted to feel that more.*  I can't wait to see what's in store in the sequel, Enders, out in December.

*I just found out there's a short story available in ebook format that shows how it all starts for Callie and Michael.  I will definitely be checking that out!  Portrait of a Starter - $1.99: nook kindle

May 2, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (14)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Thing About the Truth
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Pub Date: 7.10.12
From In this humorous love story from the author of Two-Way Street, an unlikely romance is the best sort of surprise—but the wrong secret can ruin everything. Kelsey’s not going to let one mistake ruin her life. Sure, she got kicked out of prep school and all her old friends are shutting her out. But Kelsey’s focused on her future, and she’s determined to get back on track at Concordia High.

Isaac’s been kicked out of more schools than he can count. Since his father’s a state senator, Isaac’s life is under constant scrutiny—but Concordia High’s his last stop before boarding school, so Isaac’s hoping to fly under the radar and try to stay put for a change.

When Kelsey and Isaac meet, it’s anything but love at first sight. She thinks he’s an entitled brat, and he thinks she’s a stuck-up snob. So it surprises them both when they start to fall for each other. Kelsey’s happy for the first time in months, and Isaac’s never felt this way about anyone before...But nothing’s ever completely perfect. Everyone has secrets, and Isaac and Kelsey are no exceptions. These two may have fallen hard, but there’s one thing that can ruin it all: the truth.

May 1, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (13)

This week's topic is:
Top Ten Books You'd Like to See Made Into a Movie

1. White Cat - Holly Black
 I just finished re-reading this series (and reading Black Heart for the first time) and I just can't get over it.  I love this very messed up world, I love Cassel, I love ALL OF IT and I would love to see it as a movie.

2. Embrace - Jessica Shirvington
Hot, hot angels.

3. Tempest - Julie Cross
I just think the writing of this book would lend itself so well to being a movie.  I saw the action scenes in my head as I was reading it.

4. Secret Society Girl - Diana Peterfreund
Hey, it worked for The Skulls, and this has the added bonus of girl power.  Also, I'm just 
gonna keep bringing this one up until I get someone to read it.

5. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour -  Morgan Matson
Road trip movie!  Let's all go!

6. Audrey, Wait - Robin Benway
you crucified my heart, took every part, and hung them out to dry/
'it's all good,' you always say/ but save it for another day/
cause now I'm watching you walk away/
Audrey, wait!

7. Shut Out - Kody Keplinger
High school me totally would've wanted to see this movie.  However, high school me probably wouldn't have been allowed to see it.  I would've told my mom I was going to see something else, though, so I could've gone.

8. Airhead - Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot!  Evil corporations!  Brain transplants!  Supermodels!  What more can you want?

9. The Sweetness of Salt - Cecelia Galante
I think this story would play out so well as a movie.  I can already see montages of the girls redoing the bakery in my head.

10. Entwined - Heather Dixon
Giant dresses and otherworldly dance parties every night.