Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Marilla, commenting on whether or not she'll keep Anne:
"If she can avoid catastrophe two days in a row, I might have a chance to make up my mind."
"Friends don't leave you alone in the woods. Friends are the ones who come and take you out."
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Average Price: $6.99 U.S. ($8.99 CAN) Paperback
Publication Date: February 12, 2008
Number of Pages: 275
Bayport High operates like any other high school - jocks at the top, outsiders at the bottom, and everyone else in between. Enter Toby Klein, a sophomore computer hacker who doesn't play well with others. She has zero school spirit, a black belt in karate, and what her guidance counselor calls an "attitude problem." She's the last person you’d expect to be invited to join the varsity cheerleading squad.
But things are different at Bayport.
Bayport's varsity cheer squad is made up of the hottest of the hot. But this A-list is dangerous in more ways than one. The Squad is actually a cover for the most highly trained group of underage government operatives the United States has ever assembled. Athletically, they're unmatchable, though they make it all look easy on the field. Mentally, they're exceptional - but with one flash of their gorgeous smiles, you'll completely forget that. Socially, they're gifted, so they can command and manipulate any situation. And above all, they have the perfect cover, because, beyond herkies and highlights, no one expects anything from a cheerleader.
Toby Klein might not seem like the most likely recruit, but she’s never been one to turn down a challenge. If she can hand the makeover, Bayport High may just have found its newest cheerleader.
Pretty, popular, armed, and extremely dangerous - meet THE SQUAD.
When I cracked open the hot pink cover of "Perfect Cover" I was expecting a lot after reading some pretty good reviews on Amazon. Maybe if I read this book without expecting anything I would have liked it better. Or not.
This story started off well enough: the main character, Toby Klein, is sent a mysterious note form the cheerleaders asking her to come try out for the squad. At first, she flat out declines but then changes her mind when she finds a secret message cleverly woven into the note. So Toby decides to try out by going to the first meet.
Um, boring. By the time Toby goes to the first meeting I was yawning (and not only because I started this novel in the evening!). The amount of action in the beginning of this book is atom-sized. Sure, Jennifer Barnes layed out the story very nicely but what about the main ingredient in a good novel: conflict? There was almost no conflict in this book!
However, I thought the author created very believable characters considering the main ones were all cheerleaders. All of the girls on The Squad had personalities - even Bubbles. The main character's voice was also funny and believable.
Even though there was not a lot of action in this book, the spy missions that The Squad went on were, in a word, perfect. The missions themselves were not flawless (mistakes were made) but the way they were planned out and the cool gadgets that were used was brilliant.
In the end, this was a good book that even had a little romance in it, but it was deeply lacking suspense and action (until the end) so I think it deserves a C+.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Author: Ally Carter
Average Price: $16.99 U.S. (19.75 CAN) Hardcover
Publication Date: 2007
Number of Pages:236
After the excitement of the fall, all Cammie Morgan wants is peaceful semester at school. But that's easier said than done when you're a CIA legacy and go to the premier school in the world...for spies.
Despite Cammie's best intentions, trouble crops up quickly. Cammie, Bex, and Liz learn that the Gallagher Academy is hosting guests from another spy school -- a school that is known to the world as the Ethan Frome Academy--a secret spy school for boys.
After her fiasco with Josh last fall, Cammie isn't sure she's ready for daily encounters with boy spies - especially after she meets Zach -- an incorrigible cutie who everyone thinks is just perfect. Cammie is right to be worried about their new guests. Soon after the boys' arrival, she's blamed for a series of security breaches that leave the school's top-secret status at risk. And the perfectly crushable Zach is her prime suspect. The Gallagher Girls will need to use all their skills to investigate the Frome Boys. Even though they're confident about their guy-spying ( as if they haven't done it before!), the playing field is level this time, and the stakes for Cammie's heart-and her beloved school- are higher than ever.
I read the first book in the Gallagher Girls series last year (I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You) and enjoyed it very much, but I never got around to reading the second book in the series. And boy, am I ever glad that I did!
Ally Carter starts off the second book in this spy series right where it leaves off in the first book, which is a must for me in a good series because I don't want to miss anything! I found it very easy to get into this book even though it was a bit slow at first.
You can almost immediately see once you starts this book that the author spent a lot of time on the character development. Each of the main characters had this little quirk or feature about them that I could instantly make a connection to and feel closer to the characters. Ally Carter really layed on the suspense and mystery in this book and each time a twist occurred I was totally surprised!
I loved all of the spy references Carter made in this novel - it just made this book that much more fun! What I most admire about the way that Ally Carter wrote this book is that she also wrote about how being a spy wasn't just all fun and games. Sometimes, real spies got caught. Sometimes, real spies got hurt. Sometimes, real spies didn't come back from a mission.
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy is a thrilling and very enjoyable book that I would recommend to just about anyone - but please read this series in order! You owe that much to your self! :) A.
One other thing: If you haven't read this series yet then a group of book bloggers have just started having weekly discussions about the series. More info here.
Friday, April 24, 2009
- Hello, female author!
- On her books, this author includes her middle name.
- Almost all of her novels have one-word titles.
- One of her books was turned into a movie in 2004 . . .
- . . . starring one of the cast members from Twilight.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Thanks a bunch to Fantastic Book Reviews!
1) Put the logo on your blog/post.
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
4) Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
5) Remember to link to the person from whom your received your Splash award.
6) Have F~U~N
One Lovely Blog Award
As usual, I am going to nominate the brilliant blogs out there that I haven't nominated before:
- Steph Su at Steph Su Reads. Steph somehow manages to blog about the most worthwhile and interesting things. Her reviews are well written and her contests have the perfect picks (BTW, she's having one right now)!
- Alea at Pop Culture Junkie. Alea's blog is, to put it into simple terms, fun. Her reviews and memes are also unbelievable.
- Vania at Reverie Book Reviews. She posts daily and with great enthusiasm! You can tell that she really loves books . . .
- Carol(ina) at Bookluver-Carol's Reviews. She posts unbelievable author interviews, hosts great guest blogs, has mouth-dropping contests AND it was recently her blogoversary. Happy Blogoversary, Carol!
- Senfaye at A Maze of Books. She's really, unbelievably sweet and has a very original rating sustem - go check it out!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"I live in two worlds. One is a world of books. I've been a resident of Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale abroad the Pequod, fought alongside Napolean, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina, and strolled down Swann's Wat. It's a rewarding world."
-Rory Gilmore, "The Gilmore Girls"*
*Okay, this quote isn't technically from a book but I just had to share it with someone!
While Toby is trying to do a cheerleader chant.
"If you don't feel stupid, you're not doing it right."
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Author: Shannon Greenland
Average Price: $6.99 U.S. ($8.99 CAN) Paperback Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: May 2007
Number of Pages: 206
Teen genius Kelly James is in a lot of hot water. A whiz with computers, she agreed to help her college friend, David, uncover some top-secret information. After all, she doesn’t have many friends and David has always been nice to her. It doesn’t hurt that he’s super cute and irresistible, too. All she has to do is hack into the government’s main computer system but a few hours later, her whole life changes. She is caught and taken in for questioning, only this isn’t your run-of-the-mill arrest. Rather than serve a juvenile detention sentence, she accepts the option to change her name and enlist in a secret government spy agency that trains teen agents to go undercover. As if that wasn’t overwhelming enough, she discovers that David works for this agency as well! And before she even begins to understand what is going on, she’s sent on her first mission as an undercover model. And who better to partner with than David himself!
I have to say: I love a good spy story. All of the karate, secret gadgets, dressing up and computer hacking makes a shiver go down my spine. I love the idea of going on adventures and kicking some bad guy booty so naturally I picked this book up. It was not what I expected . . . in both a good and bad way.
What I first realized about Shannon Greenland (other then her cool name) is that she gets straight to the point and she doesn't try to conjure any cliff hangers in this book. That really slowed down the pace of this story so I was tempted to put it down. I also think that sometimes the characters in the story didn't act normally. For example: Kelly is upset that she was tricked into becoming a spy (not a spoiler!) so she contemplates wether or not to quit. Um, did I hear you correctly? You don't want to be a spy? Why? Who doesn't want to go on awesome adventures and use exploding dental floss? WHO?
*silence* Ahem. Anyways, on to the brighter side of things.
I really liked that Shannon gave each of her characters a special trait that made them stand out. I enjoyed reading about the current flavour of lollipop Kelly was sucking on and what Bruiser's latest shirt said.
What really surprised me about this book is that even though Shannon Greenland didn't really add any twists to the spy area of things, she took all of the basics - parties, computer hacking, secret passageways - and made them seem totally original. I think that's one of the Shannon's best qualities: She turns coal into diamonds.
If you want a fun book with a little light romance then this novel might be right for you. B-.
Here are the instructions for this weekly segment: every Friday (in this case, Sunday) I will post five facts about an author, each one a little more revealing then the one before, and I will give you the weekend to try and figure out who I'm talking about. The Monday following, I will post the answer. Here is this week's:
- This is a female author.
- She lives in Canada, Ontario and, in fact, the same city as me (Guelph)!
- Unfortunately, this author is almost blind.
- Dear Canada, do you know who this author is?
- She's not related to Stuart Little.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
"Everyone has some darkness inside. It's like a hungry creature. It wants and wants and wants with a terrible power. And the more you give, the bigger and hungrier it gets."
"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
By the way, if you're wondering why I haven't updated my "The Book I'm Currently Devouring" gadget it's because I've kind of forgotten it and, well . . . yeah. Sorry about that guys! I'm fixing it now.
Added Later: If you're wondering why the lettering is so funky in this post it's because Blogger hates me. I have no idea how to work this computer.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Author: Suzanne Weyn
Average Price: $17.99 U.S. ($22.99 CAN) Hardcover
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 2009
Number of Pages: 330
Science, spiritualism, history, and romance intertwine in Suzanne Weyn's newest novel. Five sisters and their mother make their way from a spiritualist town in New York to London, becoming acquainted with journalist W. T. Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor. When they all find themselves on the Titanic, one of Tesla's inventions dooms them...and one could save them.
I absolutely adore the cover. The floating dress with the tulips gives it a slightly eerie and mysterious feel that catches my breath. I love the way the dress folds at the bottom and the cluster of bubbles. This cover is probably the only reason I picked up this book.
When I first started this novel I wasn't sure what to expect. This book is set a hundred year into the past so of course you can claim it as historical fiction which is not my favourite. However, I was excited to see how Suzanne Weyn would use the Titanic as the main plot in her novel.
At first I found it quite difficult to get into the novel but after the first few chapters that was not a problem. I was shocked at how easily I could relate to Jane, the main character, and how her thoughts matched mine almost exactly. However, I took me a good chunk of the book to get used to Jane's name - even now I'm not sure that it's quite right for her.
I thought the language they used in the book was very accurate except for the odd word or two. The part where Jane and her older sister, Mimi, go to New York was perfect in almost every sense of the word (especially Thad *sigh*) but, well . . . something happened.
I'm not really sure what is even was, maybe is was the fact that I missed Thad and Mimi, but the story slowed down considerably and I just wasn't that involved in it. However, when Jane and her family go to England the story picked up it's pace again and it was quite enjoyable once again.
The way the author tied in spiritualism into the book was what I though quite clever and entertaining. I liked the way Suzanne got the characters abroad the Titanic and everything that went from there ESPECIALLY the twists she put into the end (Suzanne you are a genious!) but I thought the sinking of the Titanic could have been a bit more dramatized.
I think almost anyone can enjoy this remarkable tale which is why I am giving it an A-.
Monday, April 13, 2009
"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all..."
BTW, the chicken on the left is Bob and the one on the right is Pickle. Don't get their names mixed up.
Anyways, since I always have a terrible time trying to decide which blogs to nominate I'm simply going to nominate ones I haven't nominated before. Now, in no particular order:
- Amy from Addicted To Books. I have recently just discovered her blog but its still unbelievable! She also created her very own meme called "An Oldie, But A Goodie".
- Nancy from Tales of a Ravenous Reader. Nancy just takes normal memes and reviews and makes them so . . . fun! Just go check out her blog.
- Megan from Simply Books. She reviews books very clearly and precisely. If book reviewing was a subject in school she'd get straight A's!
- The Compulsive Reader. This blog is so professional and at the same time, personal. In her author interviews she asks great questions!
- Cupcake Witch. She has "cupcakes" in her blog title so that automatically makes her cool. :) Annndddd her blog is refreshingly funny.
- Jen from 50 for Jen. I know that Jen gave me this award and all but she is just so awesome and cool that I HAVE to thank her. So . . . thanks Jen!
Friday, April 10, 2009
- This is a male author.
- He was born in Quebec, Canada.
- This author has written approximately 55 (!) books.
- He wrote his first published novel when he was twelve.
- This writer wrote the second book in a certain interactive book series that includes web games and trading cards.
Joy Lynn Goddard is the spectacular Canadian author of the Northview Tales series. Her novels include "Daredevils", "Charlie's Song", "Hello, my name is Emily" and "Jazz" which are all coming-of-age stories.
Joy Lynn Goddard: Well, a girl I once taught when I was teaching Grade 7 played on a hockey team and she was constantly being bullied. At the same time one of my friend's sons fell head first in the Niagra Falls so I connected the two. Actually, I wrote "Daredevils" in the bathroom.
A Garden of Books: Okay . . . why?
Joy Lynn Goddard: Because at the time I was living in my parents home and the only three-pronged plug was in the bathroom.
A Garden of Books: Wow, you must really have been motivated! You are also a mother and a teacher. That's great! So, how do you find time to write between your family and your teaching?
Joy Lynn Goddard: Aaagh! My husband does a lot of the marketing and buys the produce and everything so because of him, I somehow find the time to write. I also make sure that every Sunday and Saturday and during the holidays I wake up at around 5:00 a.m. and write for 5- 10 hours.
A Garden of Books: I've noticed that, so far, all of your novels are young adult contemporary fiction. Why do you write in that genre instead of, for example, science - fiction?
Joy Lynn Goddard: I guess it's just because I have these pictures in my head and there is a stoey to be told. They're probably contemporary fiction because it has to do with what's going on around me.
A Garden of Books: Do you have a favourite book that you wrote?
Joy Lynn Goddard: For sure it's "Jazz" because of the part that includes refrences the the Underground Railway, which is absolutaly fascinating to me. I can't believe how poorly they treated those people! I really wanted to teach kids about this but kids don't like to be told facts so I put it into a story.
A Garden of Books: Which one of your characters are most like you?
Joy Lynn Goddard: Om my goodness. I don't know . . . As I kid I was flighty so I was probably most like Alex. I was very interested in a lot of different things . . . I guess there is a bit of me in all of my characters.
A Garden of Books: Do you have a favourite book?
Joy Lynn Goddard: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
A Garden of Books: Can you give us a sneak peak of your next book, "Mrs. Maloney's Garden"?
Joy Lynn Goddard: Sure. It's a book about a group of boys whose baseball lands in a little old ladies backyard and the boys believe there is a dead body buried in the backyard. They also believe the lady is a witch because she does such strage things. This novel also talks about how to keep your own flower garden. *
A Garden of Books: If one of your books were to be made into a movie, which one do you think would be the best choice?
Joy Lynn Goddard: "Daredevils". I think it would make a good movie.
* "Mrs. Maloney's Garden" is for ages up to 10.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Author: Joy Lynn Goddard
Average Price: $15.95
Publisher: Chestnut Publishing
Publication Date: 2008
Number of Pages: 205
Jazz hates her life!
She and her dad have moved around a lot, but this time they've gone too far. They've just moved to the middle of nowhere, and their house is old and full of creepy noises. When she complains that it's haunted, her dad pokes fun at her.
To make matters worse, practically everyone at school treats her as if she's got a contagious disease. Bailey, the most popular girl of all, is the worst. She's convinced that Jazz is interested in Luke, Bailey's boyfriend, just because Luke and Jazz have become partners at the rowing club.
When Bailey warns Jazz that she's as good as dead, Jazz doesn't take the threat seriously until it's too late!
Luke finds her unconscious on the ground and has only seconds to save her!
Personally, this is my favourite Joy Lynn Goddard book because not only is it good, but I found I could relate to it very well. Whether you've moved to a new country or simply started taking swimming lessons, we've all been "the new kid".
Joy Lynn Goddard constructed the layout of this novel very well and I thought she threw in the ghost mystery very skillfully. This little "add-in" was both interesting and it also changed the focus of the novel without distracting the reader. It simply made me madly flip the pages to find out what was going to happen next.
I thought the author also wrote the main characters' voices very well. The only thing I found annoying about them was that sometimes Joy capitalized the letters of a word to emphasize the meaning. In my opinion, that was a bit much.
Overall this is definitely a page-turner that deserves an A.
Note: If you're wondering what happened to the cover, I couldn't find one on the internet since this book was released late last year. I tried to scan my copy of the book but, well . . . use your imaginations. In other words, the results weren't good.
Alice: "I'll play you for it. Rock, paper, scissors."
Edward: "Why don't you just tell me who wins?"
Alice: "I do. Excellent."
"The police chief, there to greet them, is a hefty fellow with a brilliant red nose and an IQ that's probably less than the total of his pocket change."
(Okay, okay. This quote isn't from a book. It's short story written by Sarah McComb called "Death By Pencils" and it was published by "What If?" magazine in Summer 2008. Link to story here.)
"Things always come back to us in the end . . . just not always in the ways we expect."
Monday, April 6, 2009
Author: Joy Lynn Goddard
Average Price: $14.95
Publisher: Chestnut Publishing
Publication Date: March 2008
Number of Pages: 161
For a smart girl, Emily is planning to do something really stupid . . .
She’s mad at her mother. So what else is new? As a typical teenager, Emily wants a life, but her mother wants to ruin everything! She even treats the family dog better than she does Emily. Besides, she’s not even her real mother - Emily and Taylor, her brother, were adopted.
As Emily begins the search for her birth mother, she reaches a dead end, but then a man sends her an email that changes her life. She wants to meet him secretly. Her friend Alex warns her not to go because he thinks that cyberspace is full of creeps. But Emily doesn’t listen to him and heads into serious trouble.
Frantic, Alex tries his best to save her. Will he be too late?
I think I've said this before but the thing I like best about Joy Lynn Goddard's books is the reality of it. I love how she takes real life events and makes a wonderful story out of it. This novel was no exception.
The character's in this book are the same ones from Goddard's other books but in each of her novels she focuses on a different character and their story. This time the main character was Emily - an adopted girl who yearns to find her real mother.
I thought Emily's search to find her real mother was very realistic. What Emily thought were the boundaries between safe and unsafe were very similar to mine, and yet she still managed to find herself in trouble. The way the characters in this book spoke was also more realistic then the vocab in the author's previous books.
I don't know about you but I think the price for this book ($14.95) was a bit much. However, considering the publisher of this book is a bit on the small side, I see why it is a tad costly.
In the end, this novel is quite satisfying but I think that it may have a smidgen better if Joy played the romance card a bit later. But I forgot about that once I really got into this book. A.
Friday, April 3, 2009
- This is a female author.
- She wrote her first book as a challenge by her sister, Madge.
- When one of her beloved characters "died" in one of her novels, his death appeared in the obituary section of the "The New York Times". In fact, he was given a FULL page.
- This author isn't exactly - ahem - alive.
- She is also known as "The Queen of Crime".
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Author: Joy Lynn Goddard
Publisher: Chestnut Publishing
Publication Date: 2007
Number of Pages: 219
Charlie is a would-be singing star whose mixed up family keeps standing in her way. She’s embarrassed by her younger brother, Nicholas, who’s a little "slow," and fed up by her mother who runs off to the casino every chance she gets. Her friend Matt is there to help, and she can count on her friend Shannon too. Or can she?
Somehow her crazy life gets spread across the internet.
Charlie doesn’t want to show her face at school again, but that would mean losing her spot in Teen Idol, the school’s singing competition. Alessa would love that. After all, she plans on winning the competition and would stop at nothing to defeat Charlie.
Suddenly Charlie finds herself in grave danger with more to lose than Teen Idol... She could lose her life!
One of the things that I like best about Joy Lynn Goddard that I don't find in many other authors is that she writes about real life situations that happen every day. Fires, kidnappings, stalkers, cyber-bullying . . . basically anything and everything that you read about in the newspaper. She takes these pieces of reality and weaves them into a wonderful story that A) not only tells us how to get us out of fire alive but also B) entertains us and warns us about these dangers.
"Charlie's Song" is a real page turner that I'm sure anyone can relate to. Unlike, Joy Lynn Goddard's first book - "Daredevils" - the characters felt a lot more real. I also like how she made a series connecting each book by characters, not actions and events. Does that make sense?
However, I noticed that Joy Lynn Goddard tried to incorporate some of our generations' sayings and expressions. That would make sense since this is a YA novel, but Joy seemed to either use expressions that were quite out of date or she used them in the wrong place at the wrong time. But besides that I found this novel very enjoyable and I thought the way she wrote the ending was very unique (in a good way!) and different.
I am giving this book an A-.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
"In the end, it all comes down to the actions of one person that changes the world."
"Because true friends like that are more precious then all the tiaras in the world."
"True love is when you can't think about any guy except for just one."
"Love is truth".