Monday, August 31, 2009

Library Loot Mondays

Library Loot is a weekly event, hosted at A Striped Arm Chair, that showcases the books you currently have checked out from the library. I have WAY too many books checked out so I narrowed mine down to four. I'm currently on vacation and these are a just a few of the (9-10) books I brought with me.

Something To Blog About by Shana Norris
The Grand Tour by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

Magic Study by Maria Snyder
Wake by Lisa McMann

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Genre: YA Fantasy

Author Website:

One Word Review: Good

Summary: “It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians--including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks....This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price.” -GoodReads

My Review: I think I enjoyed this book a little more than the first. Maybe it was because I knew what to expect. It was actually pretty similar than the first but there were a few things that were different. In the first Rose and Lissa kind of have a weird bond which causes Rose to “enter” Lissa’s mind and experience what she is experiencing. It happened in this book but nearly as much, so that was a good improvement. A lot of the vampire elements in the first book weren’t as prevalent in this book either, so again that was nice. Rose’s character has grown a lot and is becoming more mature and responsible. I enjoyed her character a lot more this time around. There is some good romantic chemistry, although not enough as I would like. Overall, it was a good read and I’ll definitely continue with the series.
Like the first book, there is some violence and some swearing.

Reading Order:
Book One: Vampire Academy
Book Two: Frostbite
Book Three: Shadow Kiss
Book Four: Blood Promise
Book Five: Spirit Bond
Book Six: To Be Announced

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Author Website:

One Word Review: Disappointing

Summary: When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to shape shifting car mechanic Mercy Thompson to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. And she'll have to choose between the two werewolves in her life-whether she wants to or not.

My Review: I think the only reason I keep reading these books is because I like Adam (and Mercy) so much. I know Adam rubs some people the wrong way, but I think even though he is the Alpha and super dominant, he really makes an effort to not use that on Mercy. He lets her live her life and doesn’t try to change her; in fact he really tries to change himself. I don’t think I could write this review without giving away spoilers, so I decided that I would put my “spoiler” info in the comment section. I liked that this book focused on the fae, it was interesting to learn more about them and to meet new characters. I like Zee a lot, I was sad that he was out of the picture for a lot of the story, but I guess it had to be done. Overall, I wasn’t happy with the book. The ending upset me and I think it could have been handled differently. I don’t know if I would really recommend the series, it is rather dark and at times pretty violent. There has always been something that was a little off for me, the ending of this one didn’t help. Because of that I don’t know if I will continue the series. I’m very happy who Mercy chooses so I think I would be able to end on at least that good note

Reading Order:
Book One: Moon Called
Book Two: Blood Bound
Book Three: Iron Kissed
Book Four: Bone Crossed
Book Five: Silver Borne
Book Six: TBD
Book Seven: TBD

Friday, August 28, 2009

Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro

Genre: YA Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “A heavenly floral scent surrounds me as the zipper of The Dress magically closes against my back.”

One Word Review: Cute

Summary: “Sophomore year, Nicolette Antonovich was dumped two days before prom by the hottest guy at school. As a result, she became the proud owner of one unworn, perfectly magical pink vintage dress. But Nic is determined to put that night behind her for good. She's a junior now— older, wiser, and completely overwhelmed by a new set of problems: (1) The bank's ready to foreclose on her childhood home. (2) Her father's too busy with his "replacement" daughter to care. (3) Her best friend's brother is an eternal thorn in her side. (4) Her best friend isn't exactly the rose attached to that thorn. (5) Rumors are flying around school that could get her kicked off the volleyball team, which would (6) ruin all chances of a college scholarship. (7) She still likes the boy who dumped her in the first place. (8) And what in the world do you do with an unworn prom dress, anyway? Strangely, it's getting to the bottom of this last dilemma that just might hold the answer to all Nic's problems.” -GoodReads

My Review: So, this reminded me a lot of a Janette Rallison novel. Either because of the super long title, or because of the cute teen atmosphere Ferraro created. I really enjoyed this story and Nicolette. Nicolette is dumped before prom by the school hottie, just days before the big event. She is heartbroken and still in love…with the dress. The summary does a good job describing the overall plot of the book, so I’ll just say that Jared is a sweetie, and he and Nic have good chemistry together. I could kind of understand where Alison is coming from. Its hard when your best friend gets a boyfriend, especially if that BF just happens to be your brother. I’m happy with how everything ended up with Jared, Nic and Alison. I did enjoyed the story and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys lighthearted teen-lit.

Side story…I brought this book to a Marine graduation ceremony today. Just wanted something light to read while I waiting for the program to start. Of course, it just so happens that the Commanding General of the entire base happens to walk by and ask what I’m reading! Not that there is anything wrong with a little “fluff” teen-lit book, but when you’re on a Marine base, it probably isn’t the most impressive thing to be reading. =)

Cover Comments: Hmmm, okay another reason I was probably embarrassed about the General asking about what I was reading was because of this cover. I’m just not a fan, and the girl looks like something out of the fifties.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Genre: YA Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “Puck’s tortured words rang in Kelley’s ears as she lifted her head, struggling against the darkness that threatened to descend upon her.”

One Word Review: Satisfying

Summary: “17 year-old Kelly Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelly's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.” -GoodReads

My Review: Hmm, so this kind of reminded me a little of Lament and Wicked Lovely. It is entirely its own story though and I did enjoy it quite a bit. I won’t say I was surprised by how everything played out. It was a little predictable, so that did lessen some of the enjoyment. I liked Sonny and Kelley but they were missing some friction that I enjoy so much. They are a good match though and I enjoyed reading the story from both their points of view. Livingston mixes in a lot of Shakespeare references, which if you like Shakespeare then you’ll enjoy that. I was satisfied with how everything ended up and yet still left me wanting more. I definitely plan on reading book two, Darklight, when it comes out.

Reading Order:
Book One: Wondrous Strange
Book Two: Darklight
Book Three:

Booking Through Thursday

Booking through Thursday is a weekly event, hosted at Booking Through Thursday, it asks fun book related questions. Its a fun way to get you thinking about your books and share you're thoughts with other book bloggers. This week's question is:

What’s the lightest, most “fluff” kind of book you’ve read recently?

Okay, I hate to call her work "fluff", but I'd have to say the books I read by Janette Rallison. They are light, romantic comedies. I'm really a huge fan now and wish she had more books already published for me to read. I'm already contemplating re-reading a few of them. One of the lighter ones that came to mind is How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend. Such a fun story and I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a nice fun read.

By Janette Rallison

Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she's still the newcomer compared to everyone around her. It doesn't help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor's son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse's apparent defection triggers Giovanna's rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she's turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the exboyfriend she dreams of winning back.

To read my review click here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Dragonfly by Julia Golding

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Dragonfly by Julia Golding
Released: October 20, 2009

Synopsis: Princess Taoshira of the Blue Crescent Islands is appalled when she is ordered to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal in order to unite their lands. And he's not too pleased, either. They hate each other on sight. So, when Tashi and Ramil are kidnapped, they fear there's no escape - from their kidnappers or from each other. Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive ambush, unarmed combat, brainwashing, and imprisonment? And will the people they meet on their adventure help them or betray them to the enemy?

Why I'm Waiting:
Okay, the plot sounds so good, just the type storyline that I enjoy. Also, I LOVE the cover!! I'm a cover snob and am loving the beautiful dragonfly and the faint image of a girl in the background.


I have decided to start participating in all the fun bookish activities that are hosted by some of our favorite book review sites. I’ve chosen the top five that I think will be the most fun and also ones that I enjoy reading about myself. I’m hoping Jessica will want to participate in some of these as well (she’s recently started participating in the Retro Friday Reviews, and I’m loving it). Anyway, below are the meme’s we’ll be following.

Monday: Library Loot hosted by A Striped Arm Chair which gives book bloggers an opportunity to share the books they currently have checked out at the library with other bloggers. I go to the library probably more than anywhere else. I'm embarrassed to say that I have about 39 books checked out right now, so I'll probably only highlight the top ten each week.

Tuesday: Teaser Tuesday hosted by Should Be Reading which has you grab your current read, open to a random page and chose a sentence to share. I always get a kick out of this one, and there have been a few times where I add a book to my TBR pile because of one amazing sentence. I'm looking forward to participating in this one.

Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. With this meme you select a book that hasn’t been published yet that you’re dying to get your hands on. I'm constantly on the lookout for new books and recently started a "coming soon" section on my GoodReads account, so this will be a fun way to show what I'm waiting for and also find recommendations for others who participate.

Thursday: Booking thru Thursday is hosted by Booking Thru Thursday. This is a fun activity where they provide a question about books and you have to answer it on your blog. This should be a lot of fun, I'm excited to see what questions they come up with and hope I can find the answers!

Friday: Retro Friday Reviews is hosted by Angieville. This focuses on old or out of print books that don’t get the attention they deserve. We’ve been participating in this one since the beginning and love it. (Angie, do you have an official “icon” for this?)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Genre: Adult Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “Like most people who own their own businesses, I work long hours that start early in the morning.”

One Word Review: Okay

Summary: “Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places - and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shape shift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind. But this new vampire is hardly ordinary - and neither is the demon inside of him...”

My Review: Okay, so I’m a little embarrassed to post the book cover for this one. I’m not sure why they have Mercedes dressed like that; it doesn’t really match her characters personality at all. And, I think it would turn away a lot of readers that would otherwise enjoy these books.

So, I decided to give Mercy Thompson another try. I admit, I’m a huge fan of Adam’s and the chemistry between him and Mercy is really what keeps me reading. I did enjoy this one a little more than the first. Briggs really keeps the vampires and werewolves in their more traditional roles, which I like. The vampires in her stories are more “realistic” or stick with your typical myths, like being out in the sun, holy water, and wooden stakes. I love the werewolves in the story as well, and although I don’t know a whole lot about werewolves, they seem to stick with your typical stereotypes. Mercy is a lot more independent in this one. She needs the help of friends along the way but she really has to handle things herself. She’s one tough mechanic! I’m not a diehard fan, but I do enjoy the stories. I am definitely curious to see what happens with Mercy, Sam and Adam (I’m all for Team Adam! and think Sam should leave), so I’m sure I’ll be reading the rest of the series pretty soon.

Reading Order:
Book One: Moon Called
Book Two: Blood Bound
Book Three: Iron Kissed
Book Four: Bone Crossed
Book Five: Silver Borne
Book Six: TBD
Book Seven: TBD

Okay, so I just read on Brigg’s site that ACE has contracted her for a total of SEVEN Mercy novels, with a possibility of even more later on. I wonder if this is a good idea. I rather like shorter series and kind of feel like after four or five books it’s just a bit much and the story usually loses its appeal. The thought of the love triangle being drawn out for more than seven books is enough to turn me away. So, I guess I’ll just have to play it one book at a time.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “I felt her fear before I heard her screams.”

One Word Review: Good

Summary: “St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . . Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.” -GoodReads

My Review: Before Twilight I had never read a vampire book. Now, I seem to be reading them a lot. Overall I enjoyed Vampire Academy. Unlike Twilight, it really had the feel of a vampire novel. It had a lot more vampires, more blood-sucking, human “feeders”, etc. Because of all this it really had darkness to it that some of the other “soft-vampire” books don’t have. Honestly, it was almost better that way. After all vampires are suppose to be creepy and evil, right? I liked the different vampire groups, history and background that Mean created. This is the first in a series so there was a lot of set-up for the next book. I admit, I was a little bored through some of it, and it wasn’t until the end that things really started to pick up and actually make me want to go pick up the second book.

There were a few things that I didn’t like. At first, and through a lot of the book, I just didn’t like Rose. She is cocky, brash, and a little easy (although, I guess she does have some standards since she hasn’t “gone all the way” yet). She starts to take her role more seriously and she did start to grow on me. By the end I was a fan. I liked the relationship with her and Dimitri. However, the relationship with her and Lissa was at times a little creepy. I didn’t really care for the passages where Rose would fall into Lissa’s mind, kind of weird.

I should mention, there is quite a bit of swearing, horny teenagers and lots of creepy vampire images.

Reading Order:
Book One: Vampire Academy
Book Two: Frostbite
Book Three: Shadow Kiss
Book Four: Blood Promise
Book Five: Spirit Bond
Book Six: To Be Announced

Monday, August 24, 2009

Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “Vitamins had ruined my life.”

One Word Review: ??

Summary: “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....” -GoodReads

My Review: Okay, so Janette Rallison has probably ruined me for TeenLit. I guess I got use to her fun style, romantic storylines, great dialogue and loveable characters. So, needless to say, I was disappointed in this book. This sounded like an interesting premise, but ended up being pretty boring and repetitive. I never really got around to liking Kate. She complained the WHOLE time and was always feeling sorry for herself. She was upset about losing her best friend, Anna, which I can understand. I was hoping about half-way through she would get some self-respect and realize that Anna’s a huge jerk that doesn’t deserve her friendship. All her family drama got old pretty quick and the only interesting parts were with her and Will. Will is the school “player”, changing girls as often as he changes socks. Kate secretly has a crush on him but is constantly mean to him and somehow that doesn’t scare him off. Maybe he likes the thrill of the chase. Their chemistry was good (although, the more I think about it, the more I wonder what he sees in her?). I liked their storyline and it was only because of Will that I kept reading. I’ve read a few other reviews where they loved the book, so maybe it’s just me?

Other Reviews:
Becky’s Reviews
Em’s Bookshelf

Teen Book Review

Sunday, August 23, 2009

La Petite Four by Regina Scott

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “Lady Emily Southwell, trained from birth to be the refined daughter of a duke, did the unthinkable.”

One Word Review: Good

Summary: “Emily and her three best friends can't wait for the year's biggest party: the Coming-Out Ball that will plunge them into the seductions, scandals, and decadence of nineteenth-century London Society. But when dashing Lord Robert puts a wrinkle in their plans, Emily and her crew hatch an investigation to expose his dark side - a move which puts them right in the path of the stubborn, yet curiously attractive James Cropper. Readers will have to fluff up their ball gowns and hang on to their corsets as Emily decides between Robert and James, love and independence, and ultimately discovers just how far she'll go to follow her own heart.” -GoodReads

My Review: I can’t remember how I came upon this book, but I’m glad I did. It was an enjoyable story with likable characters. It reminded me a lot of a few others books (The Season, Aurelia, And Only to Deceive), and those stories kept running through my mind as I read La Petite Four. Emily and her three best friends have been planning their coming out ball for ages, and when Emily’s long-time betrothed shows up and cancels Emily’s plans she decides she needs to get out of the engagement. The four become detectives as they follow Lord Robert around trying to uncover any secret that could end Emily’s engagement. It was a fun story, with mystery and a little romance.

Other Reviews:
And Another Book Read
The Story Siren

Evernight by Claudia Gray

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “The burning arrow thudded into the wall.”

One Word Review: Okay

Summary: “Bianca wants to escape. She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in. Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him. "I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would." But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.” -GoodReads

My Review: This was just okay for me. I wasn’t really sucked in and about halfway through I kind of gave up and just skimmed the rest. Towards the middle there was a twist in the story, it probably would have been a good twist but it kind of went against the image of Bianca that Gray had built. That of an outcast not like the other kids at school, etc. I thought the twist made Bianca more like her classmates than anything else and if this had been made clear from the beginning then I think I would have enjoyed the story more. I’m trying to be vague so I don’t give away spoilers and probably not making much sense in the process.

As for the romance in the story, I just wasn’t feeling anything between Lucas and Bianca. From the first chapter, if just felt off for some reason. Bianca’s feelings for Lucas came too quickly without a lot of substance. We were told how she felt about him but I just couldn’t feel anything. I thought there was more chemistry between Balthazar and Bianca. Anyway, having read Jessica’s Guide and being blown away, I was a little disappointed in this story. Maybe I shouldn’t read too many vampire stories in a row?

Reading Order:
Book One: Evernight
Book Two: Stargazer
Book Three: Hourglass
Book Four: Afterlife

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “I would have expected to see this sort of line if, say, Elvis had retruned from the dead to give a concert.”

One Word Review: Fantastic

Summary: “Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it’s all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery. But Annika’s plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly finds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?” -GoodReads

My Review: Wow! This book was fantastic and it may be my favorite Rallison novel (it’s a tie between this and My Fair Godmother). Our main character Annika (not a huge fan of the name) is full of spunk, determination and a huge heart. Ever since she found out her little brother was diagnosed with cancer she hasn’t been the same. Her new goal in life is to do whatever she can to help him get better. When I read what this story was going to be about I was a little nervous. I don’t usually like to read sad books, there is enough sadness in the real world, and I don’t always like to read about it as well. Anyway, although I cried during this book (a few times), I also laughed a lot, sometimes on the same page. My husband thought I was crazy! Rallison was able to mix in laughter, sadness, romance and adventure all in one book. I loved our hero Steve Raleigh, and the chemistry that he and Annika shared was really special. I think everyone would enjoy this book; it was one I had a hard time putting down.

My Fair Godmother was my first Rallison novel. As soon as I finished that, and loved it, I went to my library and checked out all the Rallison novels that I could (I think I got most of them). Now I’ve read …. Of her books and I am officially a fan. Rallison has an amazing ability to write humor, romance, and of course awkward moments. I love her books and would recommend them to anyone, you don’t have to be a YA to enjoy her stories.

Other Reviews:

Always Something to Read
Becky’s Book Reviews

The Hiding Spot

Retro Friday Reviews

Angieville has started a fun feature called Retro Friday Reviews where she reviews a book from her past. She thought it would be a fun idea to blog about books that aren't "new" and give a little attention to books that are are a little older, or even out of print. To read more of Angie's thoughts on Retro Friday click here. She'd love to have other book bloggers participate, and so would we. If you decide to participate in RFR let Angie know and she'll (and us too) add a link of your RFR post to hers, its fun to see everyone's old favorites.

Jessica and I thought this would be a fun activity to participate in. We're going to review everything from the classics to old favorites. Hopefully you'll get some great book ideas to add to your To-Be-Read pile. Below are the reviews we've done, just click on the title and you'll be brought to our review. Thanks Angie for the fun idea.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Retro Friday Review: Little Women

Today is Friday and you know what that means! Retro Friday Review. For this review I chose Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I will be thirty this month and if you can believe it, this is the first time I have read this classic novel. This book is a classic for a reason and is full of little gems, usually uttered by Marmee, that make one stop and think. I feel like I could use Marmee as a model for being a good mother. The four sisters in this book really came to life for me and each became as tender to me as my own two sisters. I thought my heart should break when Beth died and I wanted to shake Jo for turning down Laurie. Really now, what was she thinking? Reading this novel made me feel wistful for times past and almost has me turning over a new leaf to only read classics, but since the follow-up to Hunger Games is coming out and since the glowing review Kathy gave Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side I won't be turning over any leaves anytime soon. I would recommend reading Little Women when you are feeling like the world is going to heck and hand-basket and when you want to be studious. It isn't glamorous or particularly exciting but reading it left me better than when I started and you can't ask more than that.

On a sidenote: never read the afterword in the back of Classics written by people who think they are smarter than they really are. I read the afterword of Little Women and it just depressed me. For that reason I won't share any of the things I learned about Louisa and how she felt about Little Women. I will however copy a Good Reads review of Little Women, written by Dottie, who I think hits the nail on the head.

"My copy of this is probably 55 years old -- I've probably read it at least twenty-five times. One of my all-time favorite books. One of my favorite authors ever. Yes, it is old-fashioned -- it was old-fashioned fifty-five years ago. But that is the point pretty much in my opinion. This is a story of times past, of a family which functioned in a particular way in a particular time. This is also a story of what one person in a family might have wished were so all of the time in the family but wasn't. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Only 156 pages in and I'm as thoroughly hooked as always. Something peaceful about this story, speaks to me in a very profound manner. A bit of treacle is apparent but the story's truths are also as apparent as ever."

*reviewd by Jessica

Other Retro Friday Reviews:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fame, Glory, and Other Things On My To Do List by Janette Rallison

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “In my opinion, children ought to be able to chose their own names.”

One Word Review: Entertaining

Summary: “Sixteen year-old Jessica dreams of Hollywood fame, and when Jordan moves into her small town, she dreams of him too. He’s a movie star’s son, and hey, he’s gorgeous to boot. Jordan has always wanted to get out from the shadow cast by his superstar father, but now that he and his mother have moved so far away from LA, how can he get his divorced parents back together? Jessica convinces Jordan the way to get his father to come for a long visit is to be a part of the school play. And if she’s “discovered” in the process, all the better. Things go wrong when she lets Jordan’s secret identity slip, and grow even more disastrous when the principal tries to change West Side Story into a gangfree, violence-free, politically correct production.” -GoodReads

My Review: So, the first chapter was probably the funniest I’ve read in a long time. Rallison is the queen of coming up with and writing awkward situations. She probably topped the first chapter with the second to last chapter, in which I was literally laughing out loud. This was a fun story, I’m not much of a “drama” person, but I really enjoyed this setting. Jordan is a great lead, but he was absent for a good chunk of the story. It would be fun to have a two-person point of view for one of her books. Anyway, Jessica was a fun lead; I really liked her character and thought she had a fun, witty personality. Her and Jordan were fun together and had good chemistry. I really enjoyed this book and would totally recommend it!

All's Fair in Love, War and High School by Janette Rallison

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “The problem with getting bad news is you hardly ever get to go home and cry, or sulk, or rip things up, like you’d like to.”

One Word Review: Entertaining

Summary: “When your chance for getting into college and your date for the prom are all on the line…Sixteen-year-old Samantha Taylor is used to having things go her way. She’s head cheerleader and has all the right friends and a steady stream of boyfriends. But when she tanks the SATs, her automatic assumptions about going to college don’t appear to be so automatic anymore. She determines that her only hope for college admission is to win the election for student body president. Unfortunately, with her razor wit and acid tongue she’s better suited to dishing out insults than winning votes. When she brashly bets her classmate Logan that she can go two weeks without uttering a single insult, Samantha immediately realizes that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. And when her current boyfriend dumps her, less than three weeks before the prom, it couldn’t be a worse time to be forced to keep her opinions to herself. Finding a new boyfriend will be a challenge now that Logan shadows her every move, hoping to catch her slipping back into her old ways. Samantha is determined to win the election and find a dream date for the prom, no matter what it takes. After all . . . all’s fair in love and war (and high school!).” -GoodReads

My Review: This was another fun high school story. Samantha really goes through a nice transformation in the book. She starts out as your stereotypical cheerleader, over critical of people and transforms into a nice caring girl. I thought the bet between her and Logan was fun, and how he decided he needed to spend a lot of extra time around her to make sure she didn’t slip up. Another fun Rallison novel, she has a knack for writing believable teenagers and their high school experiences.

Revenge of the Cheerleaders by Janette Rallison

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “My wings and halo were too large.”

One Word Review: Entertaining

Summary: “Chelsea’s school year has taken a turn for the worse. After being dumped by her boyfriend and humiliated at the pep assembly by her younger sister’s boyfriend, Rick, she’s just concentrating on avoiding any other major embarrassments. That’s when Rick and his band debut their new album, complete with a whole set of songs bashing cheerleaders. Chelsea’s humiliation has reached a whole new level now that everyone is walking down the halls singing the words to “Dangerously Blonde.” It’s time to make Rick pay. All he wants is to win the High School Idol audition, so he can be on his way to rock star fame and fortune. But with the help of her best friends, Aubrie and Samantha, Chelsea is going to steal his victory right out from under him.” -GoodReads

My Review: Okay, can you tell my shipment of Rallison novels came in at my library? Before I write my review I should mention that this is actually a companion novel to “All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School.” I actually didn’t realize this until I had finished the book (even though it clearly says it on the cover). I don’t think you have to read them in order though; I was able to follow along and thought it was a good stand-alone novel. I just found out that AFILWAHS features Samantha, which I’m excited about because I really liked her in this book.

Anyway, back to Revenge of the Cheerleaders. This was again a fun book. For some reason “fun” always comes to mind when I’m reading a Rallison book. She writes good clean stories with lots of humor and heart. There is enough depth to them to keep me entertained, and plenty of funny romantic misunderstandings. Chelsea appears to have everything going for her. She’s pretty, popular and a cheerleader. Under all of that though she’s just like the rest of us, with self doubts, getting dumped and making mistakes. I really liked her character and enjoyed reading her story. I enjoyed the relationship between Chelsea and her sister Adrian, and in a way the story is more about their relationship than anything else. A cute story, with a fun lesson and a little romance thrown in the mix.

It's a Mall World After All by Janette Rallison

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “I’ve heard stories about supermodels that were discovered while shopping at the mall.”

One Word Review: Entertaining

Summary: “It’s too bad they don’t give out diplomas for what you learn at the mall, because I could graduate with honors in that subject. No really. Since I’ve worked there, I’ve become an expert on all things shopping-related. For example, I can tell you right off who to distrust at the mall: 1) Skinny people who work at Cinnabon. I mean, if they’re not eating the stuff they sell, how good can it be? 2) The salesladies at department store makeup counters. No matter what they tell you, buying all that lip gloss will not make you look like the pouty models in the store posters. 3) And most importantly—my best friend’s boyfriend, Bryant, who showed up at the food court with a mysterious blonde draped on his arm. Yeah, I saw it, and yeah, I told my best friend all about it. You would think this would mean trouble for Bryant, but you would basically be wrong. Somehow, the evil boyfriend turned everything around, and now I’m the one who has to prove myself! But I will. Even if Bryant—and more importantly his best friend, Colton—keep trying to stop me.” -GoodReads

My Review: So, this is my third Rallison novel and I’m quickly becoming a fan. She writes fun, original stories that keep you entertained throughout the book. I like the jokes she mixes in and I find myself smiling a lot while I’m reading. The romance between her characters is always fun and she writes leading men very well. I loved Colton! He totally frustrated me at times, but he was a great lead. Charlotte on the other hand wasn’t my favorite. I guess since I just read about Giovanna (How to take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend) who was so sweet and likable, I was expecting Charlotte to be the same way. Charlotte really did have a chip on her shoulder and really knows how to hold a grudge. She is really passionate about what she believes in and doesn’t always go about things in the best manner. Charlotte did grow on me and by the end I was a fan. This was a fun read, would recommend it to anyone who enjoys teen-lit.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend by Janette Rallison

Genre: YA-Fiction

Author Site:

First Line: “I bet you Cinderella didn’t get along with Prince Charming’s friends.”

One Word Review: Fun

Summary: “Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she's still the newcomer compared to everyone around her. It doesn't help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor's son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse's apparent defection triggers Giovanna's rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she's turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the ex-boyfriend she dreams of winning back.” -GoodReads

My Review: Okay, so I really need something lighthearted after the last book I read (JGTDOTDS), and this was the perfect choice. The first line alone let me know I was going to be in for a treat. Giovanna was a fun character; she broke up with her perfect boyfriend Jesse when he chose his friends over her and her twin brother. She probably should have trusted him, but she’s an emotional teenager (surprise surprise) and ends up making it her life mission to see Wilson and Jesse lose the class election. True to form she makes loads of mistakes, has horrible blind dates. One I really want to skip over it was so painful to read, but I suffered through it with Gi and it all worked out in the end. Jesse was a sweet guy, I’m not sure if he really considered them broken-up, but he didn’t try calling or winning her back either so I have mixed feeling about that. I thought it was a cute story and everything ended up nicely and the mystery of why Jesse chose sides made a lot of sense (I was wondering what Rallison had up her sleeve). The best parts were of course the interaction with Jesse and Giovanna, they had cute chemistry together and we’re crazy about each other.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Genre: YA-Fantasy

Author Site:

First Line: “The first time I saw him, a heavy, gray fog clung to the cornfields, tails of mist slithering between the dying stalks.”

One Word Review: Emotional

Summary: “The undead can really screw up your senior year . . . Marrying a vampire definitely doesn't fit into Jessica Packwood's senior year "get-a-life" plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he's her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire's Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius's soul from eternal destruction.” –GoodReads

My Review: Loved it! I’m actually a little speechless about this one, or at least I don’t know quite where to start. I thought this was very well written, you could literally feel all of Jessica/Antanasia’s emotions as you follow her along this amazing journey. When Lucius first arrives you can’t help but hate him. He is SO arrogant, possessive, creepy and talks very formal. As the story progresses his character really develops, and not always in the best way. I loved that when they first meet Jessica isn’t totally overwhelmed by his amazing looks. She actually keeps her head about her and doesn’t give her heart away so easily. We are able to go along with Jessica as she slowly falls in love with Lucius, but is it all a little too late? While she has been pushing him away he has found comfort in the arms of another girl! I admit, this part of the story was very well done, I could feel Jessica’s confusion and pain and I can’t say any more without giving away spoilers. Anatanasia and Lucius have great chemistry together; both are strong-willed and push each other like no one else has. I liked when Anatanasia finally comes into her own and accepts her history.

I was worried this was going to be too much like Twilight, and if you’re worried don’t be. The story is different. Jessica is definitely not Bella and Lucius really gives Edward a run for his money! The book ended pretty well. I wish there had been an epilogue, mainly because I just didn’t want the story to end. It’s one of those books when you’re not even halfway through you're already hoping it doesn’t end. If you're looking for a light read, this isn't it. If you're looking for suspense, passion, drama, suspense, humor, and did I mention suspense? Then this is the book for you!

I’m off to email the author to request a sequel!

Other Reviews:
Karin’s Book Nook
Okbo Lover

The Story Siren**

Okay, I had to get a few things off my chest so I added a "spoiler" section in the comment area. I probably give a lot away, so read at your own risk.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: YA-Fantasy

Author Site:

First Line: “He didn’t know how long he’d been clinging there.”

One Word Review: Mysterious

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. When a mysterious boy enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of nowhere, Deirdre finds herself infatuated. Trouble is, the enigmatic and conflicted Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin – and Deirdre is meant to be his next mark. Deirdre has to decide if Luke's feelings towards her are real, or only a way to lure her deeper into the world of Faerie. Luke isn't her only problem. A sinister faerie named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Long-time enemies with a common goal, Luke and Aodhan carry the same assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen's sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is her best friend James whose devotion has been teetering precariously on the line between friendship and love for months – a feeling that Dee doesn't quite reciprocate. It's Luke she can't stop thinking about: Luke, who was supposed to kill her immediately but hasn't. Luke, who cannot refuse the Queen's orders without paying an unimaginable price. Deirdre ultimately must confront the Faerie Queen before she loses everyone she loves." -GoodReads

My Review: Isn’t that a great first line? Who is “he”, where is he clinging and why? You can’t read that first line and put the book down, you have to keep reading. I love a first line like that, which sucks you in and before you know it your 100 pages in and you’ve forgotten lunch. That’s how this book was for me, I was totally caught up in the mystery and trying to figure out who Luke was and why he’s shown up so mysteriously into Deirdre’s life. Deirdre is a likable character. She is obviously very musically talented, clever and pretty. She falls for Luke rather quickly, but I still enjoyed their relationship. James didn’t play a huge role in the story, but he was always in the back of my mind, I always fall for the “nice-guy”. There was some swearing, a couple “F” words, and a few others, but other than that not too bad.

This book reminded me of Wicked Lovely (I liked this much more) and even a bit of Twilight, although it is totally unique from both those stories. Not sure about the ending, there wasn’t a lot of resolution for me with the whole James-Deirdre-Luke situation, as well as her Mom and Aunt Delia situation. I’m sure we’ll learn more in the next book, Ballad, which I can’t wait to read!

Reading Order:
Book One: Lament
Book Two: Ballad

Other Reviews:

Over at Maggie Stiefvaters website she is holding a giveaway contest for an ARC of Ballad. I’ve entered a few giveaways and never win, but just a chance at winning Ballad is worth the try. Below is a cool video Stiefvaters put together about Ballad, take a look. And, if you want to enter her contest you can click here (entries must be in by Friday, August 21).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Once Upon A Merigold by Jean Ferris

Genre: Fantasy (Middle Grade)

Author Site:

First Line: “Edric knew he should head for home.”

One Word Review: Whimsical

Summary: “Christian is gaga for Princess Marigold. But he's just a commoner, and no match for royalty. Heck, he lives in a cave with a troll! And now he's discovered another reason to put his love-soggy heart on ice: Queen Olympia is scheming to take over the kingdom--and she'll bump off her own daughter to do it. Can Christian foil her diabolical plans? Not only is Christian discovering things about Olympia but also about himself. It is these secrets that let him be with Princess Marigold.” -GoodReads

My Review: I thought this was a cute story, probably meant for a younger audience. I loved Ed, he was a fun character with a big heart and quirky personality. Christian and Marigold were also likable, although some of their conversations seemed a little unrealistic to me. I didn’t really “feel” anything between them, but that’s probably because it’s meant for a younger audience. I did like how they corresponded through p-mail (pigeon-mail) which was cute. The overall story was fun, not too many surprises but an enjoyable read. I think kids in elementary/middle school would enjoy this story.

One thing I didn't like that much was how it would change point of view throughout the chapter, this can be a little distracting. I don't mind it so much if its changed every other chapter, but when its changed mutliple times in the same chapter it can be confusing.

Reading Order:
Book One: Once Upon A Marigold
Book Two: Twice Upon A Marigold

Other Reviews:
Always Something To Read

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bookworm's Review Policy

We obviously love reading and reviewing books. If you have any recommendations or if you have any ARC's available we would be happy to read and post a review for you. We mainly read YA novels or novels that are in line with our personal beliefs. We are both LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and prefer to read books that do not contain an excess amount of profanity, sex, or extreme violence.

We enjoy YA/Teen-Lit, Women's fiction, Historical fiction, LDS/Christian fiction, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Mystery, and just about everything else. For personal reasons we will not accept erotica, anti-mormon, or gay/lesbian subjects.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or would like us to review your book you may contact us by eMail at

Thank You and Happy Reading!

Rating Scale

Visit my Goodreads Profile for more information. I also have books shelved there by content (romance-green, romance-yellow and romance-red).

Sensuality Rating Scale
Squeaky Clean (G): No sex, chaste kissing if any.
Clean (PG): No sex or behind closed doors, kissing (may be more descriptive).
Pretty clean (PG-PG13): No sex or “fade to black”, mild innuendo and passionate kissing.
Sketchy clean (PG13): Implied intimacy, or closed door, tends to leave more to the imagination. Descriptive or crude innuendo and passionate kissing.
Not clean (R): On screen sex or overly descriptive intimacy/innuendo.

Other content
Language: Mild (few swearwords), Moderate (a lot of cussing w/ variety), Heavy (lots of swearing or more offensive words)

Violence: Mild (non-descriptive), Moderate (a lot or more detailed), Heavy (violent themes or actions in greater detail)

Religion: Mild (Christian characters, low to no preaching), Moderate (more preaching or focus on religious themes), Heavy (main point is to preach, story comes second)

Faerie, Vampire, Werewolf Reviews

I tend to read a lot of YA Fantasy novels, usually about fairies, vampires, werewolfs or your more traditional fairy-tales (or re-imaginings). More for myself, I decided to keep track of the different books (I love making lists), and I thought you might enjoy it as well. I'll be updating it as I go. As with our Previous Reviews, the titles with a "*" are ones that I really enjoyed and would recommend to others.

Oh.My.Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Have read but not reviewed on BWN)
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (Have read but not reviewed on BWN)
Evernight by Claudia Gray
Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
*Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (Have read but not reviewed on BWN)
The Struggle by L.J. Smith
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
*Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Have read but not reviewed on BWN)

Previous Reviews A to Z

For an update list of reviewed books please visit my Goodreads Profile.

This page is currently under construction.


If you have read and reviewed any of the below books please leave a comment and we'll be happy to add a link to your review to our post. If any of the below links don't work please leave a comment so it can be fixed.

Happy Reading!

Luxe by Anna Godbersen

M is for Magic

W is for Werewolf

Wyoming Wedding by Nancy Parra
X is for X-ray

Y is for Yellow

Z is for Zeus

Last Updated: May 17, 2011 (while updating the spacing got all screwy...)
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