Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Uglies by Scott Westerfeld is a sci-fi novel that is set in a Utopian society. Tally lives in a world where being pretty is valued over everything. At age 16 you get the surgery and enter the world of the Pretties. Before that you are an Ugly and even before that you are a Littlie. A few weeks before Tally turns sixteen she meets Shay, a girl who is planning on running away before her surgery. After Shay runs away, the authorities tell Tally either she helps them find Shay and turn her in or not be pretty. When Tally decides to find Shay, she has no idea what she has gotten herself into.

I started reading this book and almost gave up on it. With a creative plot, you would think that the author could come up with better names. Come on! Uglies, Pretties, Littlies, New Pretty Town, Uglyville. Seriously those are the least creative names for places and groups of people I have ever heard! But once I put that aside I enjoyed the book. The plot dragged at points, especially when Tally was alone. I thought the idea was not quite original, a supposedly Utopian society that isn't as perfect as it seems, in ways it reminded me of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The way the story was told though, was what set it apart. In Fahrenheit 451, free thinking was banned while in Uglies it was never really banned. I give this book 3 stars.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Hey everyone! Tomorrow is the inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama. I'm down in D.C for the festivities, and let me tell you this city is ready to party! So because of this, there may be no new reviews for a few days. When I get them up however, there will be a lot as I just finished a bunch of books. Have fun tomorrow!!!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Author Chat: Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott is the author of many young adult novels, including Perfect You, Living Dead Girl and Stealing Heaven

Me: You have written a good number of books, do you have a favorite?
Elizabeth: Nope! I can't pick a favorite--all of them have good memories for me!
Me: When writing one of your books, has an idea for another occurred   during the writing process?
Elizabeth: Always--which is how I can tell I have to keep going and finish. I  
write the idea down, and then turn back to what I'm working on. It's  
hard, but otherwise, I'd never get anything finished!
Me: You have a few new books coming out soon, what are they about?
Elizabeth:Something, Maybe will be out on March 24th and it's about Hannah, who  
has parents who redefine the word embarrassing. Her dad made a  
fortune showing pretty girls--and his "party" lifestyle--all over the  
Internet, and her mom, who was once one of her dad's girlfriends, is  
now the star of her own website. After getting the wrong kind of  
attention for far too long, Hannah has learned how to stay out of  
sight...and that's how she likes it.
Of course, being unknown isn't helping her get noticed by gorgeous,  
confident Josh, who Hannah knows is her soul mate. Between trying to  
figure out a way to get him to notice her, dealing with her parents,  
and wondering why she can't stop thinking about another guy, Finn,  
Hannah feels like she's going crazy. She's determined to make things  
work out the way she wants....only what she wants may not be what she  
Love You Hate You Miss You will be out on June 2nd, and it's about  
loss, grief, love, and learning to give yourself--and life--a chance.
Me: When did you decide to become an author?
Elizabeth: I didn't actually decide to be an author--I sort of fell into the  
whole thing! I started writing for fun when I was 27 (old, I know!)  
and after years of my friends trying to talk me into getting an agent/ 
seeing if I could be published, I decided to go for it (to get them  
to quit asking me, quite honestly! :-) ) and got *very* lucky.
Me:What do you suggest to teens who want to pursue writing?
Elizabeth:Well, I'm guessing you've already gotten the writing part down, so  
I'd suggest learning as much as you can about the publishing industry  
and the business end of it (and it is a business!) and also to just  
read as much as you can--and don't just read one kind of book, read  
all kinds!

 Questions about Perfect You **May Include Spoilers**
Me:What was the inspiration behind this book?
Elizabeth: I decided to write Perfect You after getting an idea for a story  
about a family who had to deal with an extremely demanding relative  
moving in. The original idea was very (*very*) different from how the  
story ended up, but that's one of the fun things about writing ---  
there are always surprises along the way!
Me: Kate’s father quit his job to sell infomercial vitamins, why did   you choose vitamins over everything else sold in infomercials?
Elizabeth: Because that's what I knew he'd be selling, plus the brand name made  
the perfect book title! :-)
Me: For most of the book Kate has trouble trusting Will who has been  nothing but nice to her, but easily trusts Anna who had ditched   Kate for her new popular friends. Why did she trust Anna again so   easily but not Will?
Elizabeth: Because when you've had a friendship end unexpectedly and you miss  
that person, really and truly miss them, how can you not hope, if  
even secretly, that they'll decide they miss you and want to be  
friends again? Loosing a friendship is, in many ways--I think--even  
harder than a breakup. Friendships tend to last for a long time and  
play a huge role in your life, and do have one just stop--it's life- 
As for Will, well, he does have a reputation, and Kate--and everyone  
else--knows all about it! Plus, she's been burned pretty badly--her  
family is falling apart, she misses her best friend, she's dealing  
with her grandmother--is it any wonder she finds it hard to believe  
that something good could happen to her?

Thank you Elizabeth!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Caribbean Cruising

Caribbean Cruising by Rachel Hawthorne. Lindsey's mom is getting remarried, on a cruise full of hot single guys! Lindsey has never been on a cruise before, but she does have some ideas for what she is going to do with her ten days at sea- snorkel, meet cute guys, kiss cute guys, climb a waterfall, have some margaritas and find the perfect guy for a summer fling. But, unfortunately for this planner, her plans start to fall apart, especially in the area of finding a guy. Lindsey soon discovers it's impossible to have a fling when you're actually falling in love...

This book was extremely entertaining. The plot was kind of reversed from your normal teen romance, instead of the teen looking for love and instead finding a bunch of flings (or the right guy without the flings) it was a girl looking for a fling who found love instead. While you will have seen many similar characters in other books and tv shows, the story is told in a way that makes these characters unique. With interesting plot turns, and some actual morals, this book leads to a good read. 5 out of 5 stars.

Interview With Megan McCafferty

Megan McCafferty is the author of the popular teen books Sloppy Firsts, Second Helping, Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings and the upcoming Perfect Fifths which will be available for purchase on April 14, 2009. I was able to interview Megan on her books and how the Jessica Darling books were born.

Rachel: One of the things I liked about the character Jessica was she wasn’t extremely perky, and actually seemed real. In the first two books I loved reading her views on high school and the popular students. Were you in anyway like Jessica in high school?

Megan: Thank you! Perky is booooooring. Jessica is very moody, but her imperfections are what makes her relatable. As for how much she's like me, you can actually read my (retro)blog where I've posted journal entries and creative writing from my high school years to form your own opinion. But my stock response is that I started out with the truth and then started lying my butt off. However, I was most like Jessica in Sloppy Firsts. That's the book that is closest to my real life when I was in high school. For example, I was devastated when my best friend moved away, felt misunderstood by my parents, resented my shallow friends and—yes!--was obsessed with the disreputable bad boy in my class. That said, very little in any of the books happened to me in the same way it happens to Jessica. As the series progresses she really comes into her own as a character to the point where I was cringing as I wrote some of the things I made her say and do because I would never say or do those things myself.

Rachel: How did Sloppy Firsts come to be, what was the inspiration behind it?

Megan: I wrote the type of book that I enjoy reading. Yet of all the comic coming of age novels I had read, none came close to reflecting what my life was like in high school. So instead of complaining about it, I started writing that book. I kept a journal between the ages of ten and twenty-six and had taken numerous creative writing classes over the years so I had a lot of raw material to turn to for inspiration. I took some of the most vivid writings—about my crappy job on the Boardwalk, how bored I was in school or the pain of all my unrequited crushes—and added, subtracted, rewrote and revised until it started to make sense as a novel.

Rachel: Of the four books so far, they range from being a week in Jessica’s life to a few years. Which do you find harder to write, the shorter length of time or the longer?

Megan: FYI: Perfect Fifths (which comes out on April 14th!) takes place over eighteen hours that Jessica and Marcus spend in/around an airport. The pacing is radically different than Sloppy Firsts which covered a whole year. Writing this book required working in miniature—to examine and express each fleeting gesture and half-sentence. All five books posed different challenges, but that's one of the reasons why I varied the format from book to book. I'd get bored writing the same book over and over again.

Rachel: What do you recommend to teens who want to get into writing?

Megan: Read as much as you can. And write even more than you read. Period.

Rachel: Did you ever expect the books to be as popular as they are, and when they became popular what was your reaction?
Megan: The only time I think about the popularity of my books is when I'm asked a question like this! I'm proud to have invented characters who resonate with so many different readers all around the world. I've gotten email from an insomniac track star in Bulgaria who said that reading about Jessica Darling changed her life. I mean, that's craaaaaaazy to me. But making that kind of connection and getting readers excited about books gives me the greatest sense of satisfaction. That's what motivates me to do what I do and why I can't imagine doing else.

Thank you for Megan for doing this.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kissing Snowflakes

Kissing Snowflakes by Abby Sher. Sam has been dragged along with her brother to Vermont for a "family" ski trip. Sam's father has just remarried, and this is their honeymoon, but Sam's dad decides that this is the perfect opportunity for Sam and her brother Jeremy to get to know Kathy their new and impossibly perfect and perky stepmom. Sam's plan is to stay at the Vermont inn they are staying at and not ski at all, but is persuaded to give it a try, where she meets Drew. Drew is a gorgeous ski instructor, who shows Sam how to ski and how to kiss. But is Drew the right guy, or is someone else the one Sam should be with?
So, to start off, this book has a fairly typical plot, which would have been okay, but some of the characters got on my nerves. First off, though in the book Sam points it out, Drew is extremely corny and uses horrible pick up lines. And Kathy, well she is closer to a 12 year old in personality than a grown woman. By the end, I was enjoying the book, and the end was good- exactly how you want it to end. It was well written, but some of the characters just seemed pretty fake. I liked it, but I'm not going to say you have to read this book or go get it now like I do with great books. It gets 3 out of 5 stars, it would have been 3 1/2 or 4, but Kathy was too perky.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Royally Jacked

Royally Jacked by Niki Burnham. Valerie has a good life, she isn't popular but she has good friends, is a good student and even has a possible boyfriend. She even thinks her family is pretty normal. Life is pretty good.... Until her mother announces to the family that she is a lesbian and is leaving Valerie's dad for her vegan girlfriend. And if it couldn't get worse, Valerie's dad who is the Chief of Protocol for the President of the United States has gotten a new job with the royal family of a small European country with a name that is very hard to pronounce. Valerie is given the choice to stay with her mom and her new girlfriend or go with her dad. She decides to move with her dad to the place she has only heard of once before in Geography. She soon realizes that this was a mistake- until the prince befriends her, and when that happens who knows what will happen next...
When I first read the description of this book, I knew I had to read it, and I'm so glad I did. While the book is short, only 230 pages, it is funny and well written and a plot (while starts off realistically, turns into something a girl can only dream of) that is interesting and makes you want more. Valerie is a typical teenage girl, shallow in all the areas she's supposed to be, but intelligent and not as shallow as she makes herself out to be. Her A-list friends Jules, Christie and Natalie are funny and really help Valerie through what's going on, even though they don't know the whole truth behind the divorce... Obviously they are mad at Valerie for leaving, but of course they don't know the true reasoning behind it. As I have said before, I judge a good book by if I don't want it to end, and this was one of them. Luckily, there are sequels, so I will be reading those shortly. I highly reccomend this book, especially for beach reading. That is for those of you lucky to be able to go to a beach and not get frostbite this time of year.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year's Resolution

My New Year's Resolutions

1. Finish the A~Z Reading Challenge
2. Review each book I read (except sequels)
3. Give a topic to think about more frequently

To get going here is a topic- Do you think downloading music off limewire and other free downloading sources is wrong? Post your responses in the Cbox or as a comment.

The Luxe

I did a short and I mean short review of The Luxe back in June, so this is just a longer more formal version of the review.
The Luxe by Anna Godberson.
It's 1899, and Elizabeth Holland and her sister Diana rule Manhattan's social scene. Elizabeth is every man's dream- beautiful, well-mannered everything a woman should be in 1899. Diana is the exact opposite of Elizabeth, though good looking, she wants nothing to do with the expectations of being a young woman in high society. But all is not perfect, the Holland sisters learn that their high status in New York's elite is threatened. Anyone- including Elizabeth's back stabbing friend Penelope Hayes, the handsome and oh so rich bachelor Henry Schoonmaker and the Holland's housemaid Lina Broud with aspirations much higher than being a housemaid- could ruin everything.
The fate of the Holland family is in Elizabeth's hands and she must choose true love or family duty. Then, Elizabeth's carriage overturns, throwing Elizabeth into the rough current of the East River. While of Manhattan mourns, some start to wonder was this accident really an accident or was this life too much for their beloved socialite or even worse, did someone want Elizabeth gone?
Where appearances matter more than anything, five teenagers lead exceptionally scandalous lives, luxury, scandal, false friendships, love and deception run amok in Manhattan.

This book was one of the best historical fiction books I have read. Many historical fiction novels drag and get boring because everything is so innocent and proper, that it seems fake. Of course, many people lived their lives exactly how it is described in those books, it just does not always make for good reading. But The Luxe was fast-paced and scandalous. Sometimes when telling people about the book, I say it is the Gossip Girl of 1899. It is a perfect combination of romance, suspense, scandal and historical detail. The characters are great as is the dialogue. The sequel to the book Rumors is equally as good, and I cannot wait until the third book, Envy, comes out later this month. This book receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A~Z Reading Challeng 2009

So first off, it is still weird to be writing 2009! Does anyone know where 2008 went, because I sure don't. So this year I am going to be doing the A~Z Reading Challenge, where you read one book who's title starts with each letter of the alphabet for example 'T' could be Twilight. The number of books is pretty easy, but finding the books will be the hard part. Maybe next year I'll move on to the 100+ challenge....