Friday, July 31, 2009

Guess Who? #17

As usual, here are the rules: this is an (educated) guessing game where every Friday I post five facts about an author, each one a little more revealing then the previous one. I'll give you the weekend to try and figure out who I'm talking about, and the Monday following, I post the answer:
  1. Female author.
  2. She's been a staff member of ELLEgirl and Seventeen.
  3. I heart her blog.
  4. Does she likes violets . . . ?
  5. Last: reklaw
I wanted to try and make this post a little harder, but not so that it comes to the point of confusing. What do you guys think?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sloane Sisters by Anna Carey

Title: Sloane Sisters
Author: Anna Carey
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 20th, 2009
Number of Pages: 208

Style. Sabotage. Sisterhood.

When Cate and Andie Sloane's Upper East Side dad met Stella and Lola Childs's British-model mom, nobody thought a transatlantic relationship would last. But then their parents drop the M-bomb—marriage—and it looks like Cate, Andie, Stella, and Lola are going to be one big happy family. Well, big anyway. Meet:

Cate Sloane: She dominates the ninth grade at exclusive Ashton Prep. Tantrum-prone and competitive, Cate would rather wear Laura Ashley every day than be second best at anything. Luckily there's not a rival in sight. Yet.

Andie Sloane: Twelve-year-old Andie desperately wants to walk the runway. Her face is flawless, and boys flock to her like love-struck sheep. There's just one leetle problem: She's only 4' 11". But with a new supermodel stepmom, she'll be voguing in no time. Right?

Stella Childs: With her take-charge attitude and a closet full of supermodel swag, Stella was the It Girl at her London middle school. She's determined to rule Ashton Prep—even if that means dethroning the current queen bee. Can you say British Invasion?

Lola Childs: London boys called gawky Lola "Sticks," but she's got a new mission in Manhattan: boyfriend or bust! With the help of her boy-magnet stepsister, Lola sets her sights on supercute Kyle Lewis. Too bad Kyle's only got eyes for . . . Andie.

Alright, alright - you've got me. I've never admitted this on my blog before, but I really like The Clique series, and even though I haven't read it, I'd probably like the Gossip Girl series too. It's not because I like girls calling the B-word behinds each others backs, but it's more because I love reading about all of the predicaments the girls find themselves in, all because they want to be popular and for people to like them. That's probably why I didn't find it hard to pick this book up, but believe me when I say this novel has more to it then it seems.

Sloane Sisters starts off with a very interesting introduction. In interesting, I mean kind of shocking. Anna Carey wrote it so that we get the basic facts we need in a crisp voice that got to the point, but she also wrote it in a way that told us "People, anything can and will happen." And that it did.

I found that, unlike characters from other Gossip Girl type books, the main characters in this novel actually seemed to have a valid reason for doing what they did. Sort of. While Cate and Stella spent most of the book fighting to "rule the school" which I found quite pointless, Lola's urge to find friends and get her crush to notice her felt real and true. Andie's dream of proving her older sister, Cate, wrong by pursuing in modeling did not seem led by jealousy (at least, not much) but it was more . . . inspiring.

In Sloane Sisters the author used lots of neat phrases like, "she finger-combed Lola's wind-knotted waves" and "she gathered her hair together at the nape of her neck in a ponytail" (notice how they're both about hair? *smiles*) that I find people do all the time in real life, but authors rarely put these common tid-bits in books. Well, unless it's just me. But it's not me . . . right?

The point is, Anna Carey's debut novel is an entertaining, quick read that can't hurt to take out from the library. They don't even swear! Yes, the ending does become clear two-thirds into this book, but it's still fun to read all the same. My only complaint? At the very, very end when Carey dedicates a page hinting to what the next book is about, she takes a Gossip Girl approach to the book and, I think, kind of dampens the happy feeling you just got from the ending. Unless it's just me. It seems to be that a lot these days . . . A-

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In Between These Pages #14

This week's topic is:


We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.

- Sam Keen, from To Love and Be Loved

The spaces between your fingers were created so that another's could fill them in.

- Unknown

Sometimes people put up walls, not to keep others out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.

- Unknown

People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you made them feel.

- Anonymous

If you're thinking, "Huh? What happened to the original In Between These Pages?," then click here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Here! (Or There?)

Some of you may or may not know this but I'm currently in Ukraine for the summer visiting my family. In other words, if I'm terrible at updating my blog you now know why.

The flight over here was fine but I chose to sit next to my younger brother which was a BIG mistake. In simpler terms, the first hour consisted of non-stop talking, the second of complaining how weird the "green stuff" in our dinner tasted, and in the third hour he decided he was meant to be British so he said really random stuff like "I like trays. I really, really like trays." And even now as I'm writing this with my brother reading over my shoulder he keeps saying that is wasn't "trays" that he said but "trays". Right. I'm really sorry. (Pure sarcasm.)

Anyways, I'm having a good time here. It's nice to see all my cousins and grandparents and everyone. Some of the food here is quite weird in the way they package it. For example, they put the milk in these small paper envelopes that are coated inside with wax stuff so that the milk doesn't leak through. Very weird. The juice over one litre here is also packaged in these giant versions of those juice boxes you normally take to school. The only difference is that instead of drinking the juice from a hole in the box with a straw, there's this weird open-close thing.

Next week we're planning on going to the Black Sea for a few days to vacation. I'm pretty excited as I've only been to a real beach with actual sand and stuff (lakes don't count) once in my life.

A few times a year I go into these phases where I'm obssesed with something. It can be a sport, a craft - anything really - that I get so attached to that I end up spending hours every day at the computer or library researching that one thing. Lately, I've been really obssessed with sea glass. Yeah, I know that's kind of odd but it's a lot better then when I was in love with LUSH. Or what about my Hamtaro phase? (Granted, I was only nine at the time.) Anyways, does ayone know if you can find sea glass in the Black Sea? I tried Googling it but I only came up with a bunch of articles discussing black sea glass. Like, as in the colour. Not what I'm looking for.

Before I go I just want to recommend a really cool blog that I found out about a while ago. Kay Cassidy, the author of The Princess Society, recently started an author blog that is currently revolving around a Teen Author Challenge. In her own words, "If you’re an aspiring author of fiction for teens and tweens, this special feature is just for you! I’ll be sharing exclusive writing tips from fabulous YA and middle grades authors, talking about the ins and outs of writing a novel from start to finish, and offering links to great online resources that’ll help you grow your writing career. Get all the details here." It's a marvelous blog that I would totally urge you to check out, even if you don't want to become a writer!

I hope everyone's having a great summer!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Guess Who? Answer #16

*Drumroll* Last week's Guess Who? author was . . .

. . . Lisa Mantchev!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Across the Pond by Storyheart

Title: Across the Pond
Author: Storyheart (a.k.a. Barry Eva)

Publisher: Xlibris Corporation

Publication Date: September 2008

Number of Pages: 117

Author Site
Amazon Page

When almost fifteen-year-old, English born Fred Squire’s parents win a trip to Australia, Fred finds himself packed off to visit family friends in the United States. Even worse, he’s given a boring language project to complete. But then he meets Brittany.

Fred soon finds himself struggling, not only with his growing feelings for Brit, but also with the language differences. A state confusion, that increases when he meets Brit’s flirtatious friend, Angel. Escaping from a confrontation with Steve Harris, the neighborhood bully, Brit tells Fred her dark secret about Harris, and Fred´s world is turned upside down.

Life continues to throw Fred a curveball when he catches a ball worth thousands of dollars at a baseball game. Further angry run-ins with Harris, a crazy family BBQ, and being chased through a Boston mall all add to the thrill of Fred´s American adventure.
A final fight between Fred and Harris, leads Brit to at last reveal her painful secret to her parents.

"Brit and her Brit", know that their young love will be followed by heartache when Fred has to return back "Across the Pond" to England.
However, not before some final twists in the tale.

For those reviewers out there who read this blog, have you ever had trouble finding a way to start a review? Do you ever type a sentence only to quickly delete it and start over? It's not just me, is it? This isn't the first time this has happened to me and my theory is because I have a lot I want to say about the book, and I simply can't find away to organize all of those thoughts in my head. Keeping that in mind, I'm going to break this all down so I won't get a migraine:

Writing: Barry Eva's writing was nice. It wasn't beautifully lyrical or anything like that and even though I think sometimes it was a bit boring, I wasn't tempted to put the book down. I enjoyed reading the thoughts of the main character, Fred, as he was both funny at times and, well, not as immature as I know most of the boys in my class are. Eva's writing was straight-forward making this a short, but very pleasant read.

Point of View: By reading the back cover of this book, you might think that the plot is a bit ordinary but that's not the case. The way the author decided to write from Fred's POV . . . it was perfect. If the POV was written from Brit's point of view then I can only imagine it as her gushing over how great Fred was (which I would be doing too), but we already know what Brit is thinking as - how do I put this? - it seems there are more avid female readers in the world then males. From Fred's POV we get to see everything from a guys perspective, which is not normally something we find in YA literature (at least for me). This novel was very refreshing as it was like looking across the pond. ;)

Grammatical Errors: This is probably just the inner perfectionist in me speaking out but I did notice I few errors in the writing - forgotten punctuation, phrases put into italics when it wasn't necessary etc. Even though this didn't really effect the story it was - at least for me - a bit distracting.

Ending: I must say that I really like the ending. At first near the last 20 pages or so I was getting quite upset because . . . well, I can't really tell you now can I? Let's just say that some people did not seem to agree that "the pen is mightier then the sword" and that made me quite upset as I am a strong believer in that quote. Anyways, I was feeling a tad annoyed but the very end - oh, did it ever make up for it!! I loved it!

The Bottom Line: Overall, this is quite a nice novel that may need a little editing but is quite enjoyable. Perfect to read right before, or on a vacation out of the country! B+

Friday, July 10, 2009

Guess Who? #16

As usual, here are the rules: this is an (educated) guessing game where every Friday I post five facts about an author, each one a little more revealing then the previous one. I'll give you the weekend to try and figure out who I'm talking about, and the Monday following, I post the answer:
  1. Female author.
  2. The first stepping stone on her path to becoming a writer was when she became involved in drama.
  3. Her debut novel came out this year.
  4. I'm sure she loves both plays and books equally.
  5. Title: Faulter

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Between These Pages #13

Normally my In Between These Pages posts contain quotes from books that I simply adored, but for the next few weeks I'll be away in Europe to visit my family. Keeping that in mind, I don't know when I'll be able to update my blog so I'm scheduling these posts ahead of time (I know - this is quite shocking!). Until I come back on the 25th of August, I'm going to schedule a bunch of posts that do still include quotes, but they may not be from books and they all revolve around one common theme. This week's theme, for example, is:


If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I wouldn't jump with them. I'd be at the bottom to catch them.

- Unknown

Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.

- Ed Cunningham

A stranger stabs you in the front; a friend stabs you in the back; a boyfriend stabs you in the heart, but best friends only poke each other with straws.

- Unknown

Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

- Albert Camus

Guess Who? Answer #15

Yes, yes - I know. I suck. A lot.

I was supposed to post the answer to last week's Guess Who? on Monday, but of course, I totally forgot and to make matters worse I didn't post the answer yesterday either!! Fear not, however, for the future since I am scheduling a few posts while I'm on vacation. Anyways, without further a due:

Lisa McMann
was last week's Guess Who? author!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Guess Who? #15

As usual, here are the rules: this is an (educated) guessing game where every Friday I post five facts about an author, each one a little more revealing then the previous one. I'll give you the weekend to try and figure out who I'm talking about, and the Monday following, I post the answer:
  1. Female author.
  2. Lives in Arizona.
  3. She wrote a bestselling series with one word titles.
  4. Pillow, glass, chair.
  5. This author's last name begins with "Mc".

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

Title: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 Author: Sue Townsend
Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: Harper Teen, August 14th, 2003. Original, October 7th, 1982.

Number of Pages: 272

Author Site
Amazon Page

Adrian Mole's first love, Pandora, has left him; a neighbor, Mr. Lucas, appears to be seducing his mother (and what does that mean for his father?); the BBC refuses to publish his poetry; and his dog swallowed the tree off the Christmas cake. "Why" indeed.

Do you see that little statement above the title on the book cover? The one that says "Almost definitely 5 million copies sold"? Well, that has to, has to be incorrect. I don't mean to be rude here, but I really don't know who would want to read this type of book. I mean come on: crude humor, confusing British terms and a protagonist that doesn't have his head screwed on the right way isn't what I would consider the best literature I've seen in ages.

I hope (like many other people) to one day write professionally. I've researched author sites and checked out books from the library to figure out what aspects are key in a good novel. Among other points, one of the most important ideas I've come to the conclusion you need to have in a good book is a well thought out plot. Quite honestly, I don't think there was any plot in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. It was basically an ordinary kids life and how he made a fool of himself. I was snoring by page 2.

Even though this book was very dull, I persisted on reading it. I was almost exactly half-way done this book - dragging myself through it - when I decided it. I read to learn new things and also for a good laugh or two. However, while this book was occasionally funny, the only thing it taught me was not to pick up any more books from this series. So I stopped reading it.

In the end, I don't think I would recommend this book. If you especially like crude humor then this novel would be right up your alley, but other then that, I don't know. Looking at the reviews from Amazon, it seems very few people didn't like this book, so maybe you'd like it. I don't know. D.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In Between These Pages #13

Has a quote ever painted a smile onto your face? Or made you seriously think? Or even have made you see things in a different perspective? Well, that's what "In Between These Pages" is all about: Great, wonderful quotes from books. This meme was invented by Christina at "Insert Book Title Here" and a similar one by Karin at "Karin's Book Nook" but I have decided to rename it "In Between These Pages".

" . . . I thought about how there were two types of secrets: the kind you want to keep in, and the kind you don't dare let out."

"' So the question is," Bex said, crossing her arms, "what are we gonna do about it?'"

"Paper has more patience then people."

"Things . . . well, things suck sometimes. And sometimes you can fix them. And sometimes you can't. It's just the way it is."