Saturday, June 30, 2012

Double Shot by Erynn Mangum

Published: October 29th, 2010
Publisher: NavPress
Pages: 288
Rating: 5/5
Now that Maya is engaged to Jack, the love of her life, everything should be perfect, but actually, it’s the opposite. Maya must trust that God is in control even when things seem to be a disastrous mess.

This fiction novel uses the power of story and humor to challenge teens to discover the relevance of faith in their lives. This fun, lighthearted read promotes trust in God.

This last installment of the Maya Davis series tied the trilogy up wonderfully. Maya experiences a lot of change in her life, and it’s both funny and enlightening to watch as she learns, grows, and trusts God with her every need. Something that makes this series so appealing is that teen girls can easily relate to the obstacles in Maya’s life. Relating to the main character of a book is an important aspect in making the book appealing, and Erynn does just that.
I’ve always wondering why Erynn makes her characters older when her books are categorized under YA fiction. Now that I’ve read both her series (Lauren Holbrook and Maya Davis), I think I’ve come to the conclusion that she does this to show her younger readers that things like trusting God and letting Him rule our lives aren’t actions that expire when we grow up. We don’t ever come to the point where we’ve learned all we have to learn about our Savior. We don’t get to a certain age and automatically stop having to trust God. Erynn’s books show that a lot of the troubles that we experience now will follow us into adulthood (though they might now seem as severe then as they do now). She shows us a glimpse of the kinds of decisions we’ll have to make when we’re older, and how trusting God now will prepare us for trusting Him then. And I absolutely love how she does this.
Double Shot holds the same undeniably witty humor and sweet romance that both Cool Beans and Latte Daze have. By the end, you’ll discover that Erynn’s characters have found a way into your heart. I know I did- the sinking reality that I felt when I finished Double Shot confirmed how much I loved this series. Though the ending felt a bit rushed, that didn’t bother me much at all. If you haven’t gotten your hands on this series, make an effort to soon. It’s not one you’ll want to miss and one you’ll never forget. I’ll definitely be pulling this one off my shelf to read again sometime.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
*clean read!*
Language: None.
Violence: None.
Sexual: None- Mild (some kissing)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

So, ladies and gents, I was tagged for the Liebster Blog Award!!! Yay! And if you’re like me, you have no idea what this is. Well, kiss your confusion goodbye. The Liebster Blog Award is an award given to new bloggers who have less than 200 followers, or, as in my case, not-so-new bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The oh-so-kind blogger who graciously awarded me this honor was Katie over at Breath of Books. A bajillion thank-yous, Katie! This means a lot to me. *sniffle*
Since this is all new to me, I had to do a bit of research on what to do next. Unfortunately, the rules are still kind of fuzzy because I’ve found several different methods, so I’m going to improvise. The whole point is for the blogging community to get to know you better as a blogger, so here’s what I’ll do. I’m going to answer eleven questions that Katie laid out for the bloggers she awarded, and then I’ll pick five other awesomely amazing blogger who have under 200 followers, then I’ll let those blogger know they’ve won the Liebster Blog Award, then they’ll freak out like I did, then try to figure out what the heck that actually means, and…well, you get the point.
Here are my eleven questions from Katie, along with my answers:
1. What is your favorite thing about book blogging?
My all-time favorite thing about blogging is getting to share my thoughts about the books I read and getting to know all the bunches of wonderful people who make up the blogging community. I love being able to freak out about amazing books with other people who have the same love. It makes my life so much brighter.
2. What book are your currently reading?
I’m currently reading two books, actually: The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings Book 1) by J.R.R. Tolkien and Latte Daze (The Maya Davis series Books 2) by Erynn Mangum.
3. What are five books you want to read this summer?
Double Shot by Erynn Mangum, Shatter Me by Tehereh Mafi, A Charmed Life series by Jenny B. Jones, The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren, and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.
4. How long have you been blogging?
One year and one month.
5. Do you participate in any memes?  If so, which ones?
Yes, actually, I just started participating in Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday. I plan on starting Bookshelf Monday soon.
6. Who is your favorite author?
You have no idea how much I dread this question. Um…I like Jenny B. Jones a great deal at the moment, but I also like Erynn Mangum, Deeanne Gist, and Melody Carlson.
7. Do you prefer series or stand-alone books?
I like both. Series are nice because you have a continuous stream of books you can go through, and usually they get progressively better as you read, but I also like stand-alone books because there’s less suspense at the end. Some books are better as stand-alones.
8. Do you have a Goodreads account?
Yes, why yes I do! And I use it an insane amount. It’s a reader’s heaven, I tell you.
9. Have you gotten any ARCs since you've started blogging?
Well, technically, yes. I won an ARC in a giveaway I entered. But I have not actually received an ARC from an author or publisher, no. *sad face*
10. What upcoming book are you looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to the last Maximum Ride book, Nevermore, coming out in August (I think…or maybe October) of this year!
11. Do you like to write to as well, or do you only like to read?
I LOVE to write. Actually sitting down and finding the time to do it, though, is another story. I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this past November and absolutely loved it. I’ve yet to finish my book, though, and even when I’ve done that, it’ll need a massive amount of editing. But I love the story and the characters, and I can’t wait to see if I can get it published once I’ve polished it up a bit!
Now, here is the list of the incredible bloggers I picked to win the Liebster Blog Award. Please put your hands together for…
2) Sandy from Somewhere Only We Know
3) Sara from The Page Sage
4) Katie and Abbi from Christian Novels
5) Emily from Emily Hearts Books
Congrats, bloggers!
Now, here are a few interview questions for those bloggers I’ve tagged. Don’t worry, I won’t force you to tell us your deep dark secrets; these are just to help the blogger community get to know you guys a little better.
1) When did you start blogging and why?
2) Who is your favorite author/what is your favorite book?
3) Where is your favorite spot to read?
4) Do you buy the books your read or borrow them from the library?
5) What is your favorite movie adopted from a book?
Ok, just to clarify for the bloggers tagged- here are the rules of the game. You can modify them like me, or follow them exactly. It’s your choice. Just have fun with it and enjoy getting to know other bloggers along the way!
1. Post 5 facts about yourself (I skipped this because I list a lot of facts about myself on my “About Me” page).
2. Answer the questions that the blogger gives you.
3. Tag 5 other bloggers that have under 200 followers and come up with 5 (or however many you like) questions for the bloggers you tagged.
4. Let these bloggers know that you tagged them (comment on one of their posts).
That’s all there is to it! I really enjoyed this and loved getting to know other bloggers in the process. Thanks again to Katie from Breath of Books!

Through The Ever Night Cover Reveal!

Eeeee! So gorgeous! *cough* Oh, you thought I was talking about the cover. Heh, no. I was referring to that dashing man on the cover by the name of Perry. Oh yes. *winkwink*
I can’t wait for Through The Ever Night (Under The Never Sky, book 2)! How will I survive until January 8th? On the bright side, I’ll be able to buy this book as an early birthday present.
Who else is drooling over this cover? Tell me what you think- yay or nay?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s pre-release book that’s getting a little limelight is Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter, which is due on shelves in February 2013:
Kat is a girl who is used to getting—or stealing—everything she wants. But telling the truth to the boy she likes? Now that's a cat of a different color.

When Kat's on-again off-again boyfriend, Hale, suddenly inherits his family's billion dollar company, Kat gets a tip-off that the will is a fake. Trapped between a rock and a hard place, how can she tell Hale that he might be living a lie?

Critics and fans alike have fallen for Heist Society (no conning necessary). With more mystery, non-stop action, romance and humor, this third novel in the hit series is just as irresistible. [Description from Goodreads]
This being the third book in the Heist Society series, I’m super excited for it. And considering I didn’t know about this book until yesterday, imagine the additional excitement I’m experiencing at the moment. It’s like being on a sugar high. Or switching places with Rhino from Bolt. Yeah, I’m talking that level of excitement.

Which books are you jumping up and down for this week? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by the amazing people over at The Broke and the Bookish. Because that last sentence wouldn’t be as exciting without those two ‘a’ adjectives. Nope.
 Ok, this could be easy and hard at the same time…
1) Mr. Darcy. Yes. I know someone who reminds me of Mr. Darcy, as in Pride and Prejudice Mr. Darcy. Stiff, cold, unfriendly to the extreme, the whole nine yards. Except I seriously doubt I’ll be gettin’ hitched with this dude. *thoughtful moment* Yet that was what Elizabeth thought, too…no, no, no. No. Just no.
2) Maya Davis (from the Maya Davis series by Erynn Mangum). Since I’ve been reading this series recently, I’ve noticed that someone I know is very similar to her. She has Maya’s excited energy, her humor, her joy, and her personality. I look up to this person and absolutely love her contagious joy. Makes me smile every time I pick up one of the books in the series.
3) Angel from the Maximum Ride series. I know this is clique, but Angel reminds me of my little sister. I know what you’re thinking- “yeah, Shelby, Angel reminds every one of their little sister.” Well, ok. But she does. Minus the mind-reading stuff, of course.
4) Meg March and Beth March from Little Women. Sometimes I feel a little like Meg March in that I’m the oldest in my family and have a lot of responsibility, and sometimes I feel like Beth March in that I share the same personality as she has. Quiet, reserved, bookish. I don’t consider myself weak or sickly, though, so don’t go getting any ideas. *wink*
Well, that’s all I can think of right now. I honestly don’t share some of the deep conflicts a lot of fictional characters do; my past isn’t haunted by a deranged mother, I don’t have a grudge against a traitorous father, and I don’t have to decide between two hot guys (that wasn’t a Twilight reference, I promise!). Anyway, hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday.
Who’s your fictional character doppelganger? Do you know anyone who seems like they jumped out of a book you’ve read? Match yourself and your friends up in the comments section. I can’t wait to hear what fiction character you think you’re like!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bookshelf Monday #1

Bookshelf Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Jasmine over at Bookish Mama. Basically, it’s a meme where I’ll share with you some dreamy bookshelves that I’m pining after. Honestly, guys…there are some gorgeous shelves out there. And what’s a pile of books without a bookshelf? So, this meme is dedicated to those trusty (and sometimes pretty) shelves that hold our most treasured possessions- our books.
And now that I’ve started sounding like a total nerd, I’m going to shut up and let you enjoy today’s shelf:

 I like starting off big.

Latte Daze by Erynn Mangum

Published: July 1st, 2012
Publisher: NavPress
Pages: 304
Rating: 5/5
When Maya Davis’ ex-boyfriend proposes to her roommate, Jen, their apartment becomes Wedding Central. As if that weren’t awful enough, Jen’s obnoxious mom moves in to help with the planning!

Maya's relationships really start to get crazy when her genius brother and sister-in-law announce their pregnancy, and then to top it off there’s Jack—could it be love? Who wouldn’t need a coffee break!

This fun, lighthearted fiction novel for teens uses strong characters, humor, and quiet faith to promote trust in God.
Review: (I know this is a short one, but I didn’t want to restate everything I said in my review of the first book, Cool Beans. Hence the minuscule review.)
What can I say? I adore Erynn’s books. Each and every one of them. They’re a perfect combo of sweet romance and giggly humor. Maya’s antics always have me smiling while I’m reading and wishing for more when I’m done. And as I’ve said before, I love her childlike approach to her relationship with God. This second installment in the Maya Davis series was flawless in my opinion, and is the perfect summer book- or any season, in fact.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
*clean read!!!*
Language: None
Violence: None
Sexual: None-Mild (some kissing)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

~I read this last summer and have not the slightest idea why I never posted it.
So here it is, dear readers!~
Published: September 1st, 2004
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 207
Rating: 5/5
I was kind of wary about this book when I first began it, because I had just finished The Notebook, which was good but had some majorly unnecessary content in it. But I had heard that this one was, um, cleaner, so I gave it a go.
            Landon Carter is with the ‘in’ crowd. Jamie Sullivan is not. Landon is not afraid to do daring, rebellious things. Jamie is not afraid, either, but she’s a good girl, and good girls don’t do daring, rebellious things. Landon’s father is a politician, and barely knows his son. Jamie’s dad is the pastor, and is very close with his daughter. Landon never really thinks about helping others, but Jamie collects money for the local orphanage. When Jamie the outcast and Landon the jock fall in love, what do you get? I’ll let you read and find out. J
This book was definitely far cleaner and more appropriate than The Notebook. I felt less guilty when I finished it, too. J It’s written more for the younger crowd (high schoolers/ older teens). I loved the way it was written (from Landon’s view point). I totally didn’t expect that Jamie would get sick. Neither did I expect her to recover like she did. I know it’s typical, but I was kind of doubted Landon’s sincerity when he married Jamie. I mean, anyone would be, when a guy goes from ridiculing a girl to completely falling in love with her, then quickly wedding her when they’re barely out of high school, anyone would be suspicious. But his love was true, and that made the whole book memorable.
One note: I haven’t seen the movie, but I watched the trailer, and I don’t care how good people say it is, it looks like they slaughtered it. It looks nothing like the book. Jamie seems less of a saint than they portray her to be in the book, and Landon seems more of a rebel than he was in the book. What I’m trying to say is, it seemed like they exaggerated the book. But that’s a biased opinion since I haven’t seen the movie. But if you have read the book like me and not seen the movie, I suggest you research it a little more before you watch it. Just so your opinion of the book is not defiled because of the movie. J
All in all, I loved A Walk to Remember. I encourage you to read it even if you have been scared off from Nicholas Sparks because of the content in The Notebook. A Walk to Remember is much cleaner, and in my opinion, a much happier love story.
Quick Content Review:
Profanity- Minor (Two b-words and one s-word.)
Sexual- Minor (Jamie and Landon kiss innocently a few times.)

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

~I read this last summer and have not the slightest idea why I never posted it.
So here it is, dear readers! Please note I may have exaggerated on the severity of the sexual content. *sheepish grin* I tend to do that sometimes...~

Published: July 5th, 2004
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 214
Rating: 4/5
The reason I read this book was for two reasons. First, my mom is crazy in love with the movie. Second, I was in the mood for a romance. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be. I had read The Last Song last summer and couldn’t really get into it. I was sickened by the emotional tension between the characters and disgusted at the many cuss words. But The Notebook was different. In a way.
            Noah is just a country guy who buys and fixes up an old house his hometown of New Bern, North Carolina (I love books that take place in my home state!). Allie is just a city girl who is engaged to a successful lawyer. One summer many years ago, they fell in love. But it wasn’t just any old summer romance. It was rare and life-long. That love was rekindled when Allie goes in search of Noah three weeks before her wedding. They relive all the memories of that summer long ago as the world fades away and the only thing left is each other. But seems it can’t last forever. Allie must decide what she wants- do her duty to her parents and marry a man she doesn’t truly love, or throw it all away for her Noah?
            First off, I was so surprised at the kind of love stories that Nicholas Sparks writes. I mean, he’s male! I just never knew that GUYS could write like that.  I loved loved loved this book. I usually don’t go for the unimpassioned, stiff, adult romance kind of novels, but this one was nothing like those at all. Unimpassioned? Far from it. Stiff? Hardly.  This book was so romantic. *sigh* I loved the part when Noah took Allie to the little lagoon filled with fowl of every shape and kind. To be honest, I loved the first part of the book, when Noah and Allie are still young, but I hated the last part, when they are old and Allie has Alzheimer’s. The very last page is good, though.
            Of course, there were several things that Nicholas added that were inappropriate. Some cuss words here and there. But the “love scenes” blew me away. The way I felt after reading them can be described in one word: guilty. I’ve never read anything like them before. God forgive me, I should have skipped them. I’ve never seen the movie, but apparently, those scenes weren’t left out. There are most definitely ways to communicate to your readers what is going on without all the steamy descriptive stuff. But I digress. The Notebook is an amazing read about true and faithful love, and whether you let it or not, it will sweep you off your feet and make you long for the rare kind of love Allie and Noah had.
Quick Content Review:
Profanity: Mild
Violence: None
Sexual: Heavy

Waiting On Wednesday #1

Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday! Or as Charlotte would say, “Salutations!”  
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Each week I’ll pick one pre-release book I’m super excited about and share it with all of you (this is actually a secret mission to try and get TBR piles all over the world to grow and grow until the massiveness of them makes the universe implode, but don’t tell anyone. Shhhh!). This week, I’m sharing Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt, which is due to be on shelves in 2013:

The cure for a broken heart? Go vintage and live like it’s 1962!
Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, isn’t just cheating on her. He’s cheating with an online girlfriend. So Mallory decides to swear off boys and modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to “go vintage” and return to a simpler time. She sets out to complete grandma’s list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous.
The list proves to be trickier than it looks. Obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how intriguing she finds Oliver (er, Jeremy's cousin). But with the help of her sister, Mallory will finish the list and find peace.
[From Goodreads]
I’m sure I’m going to absolutely adore this book. I can sometimes go kind of ballistic over vintage stuff of any shape or form. *makes mental note to but straightjacket before publication date*
Which book are you antsy to get your hands on? Drop me a comment, cause I’d love to know!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just Because I’m Crazy About Lists...

Welcome to my first ever Top Ten Tuesday! This is a meme hosted by our our blogger friends over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they’ll post a new topic (usually book-related) and compose a list of ten things under that topic. And because they’re such sweet people, they invite us blogger/readers to participate too! To find out more or to see new/old Top Ten Tuesday topics, visit their Top Ten Tuesday page or explore their site for great reviews and other fun bookish stuff.
This week’s topic: Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List
Now, I’ve kind of cheated on some of these by listing series or trilogies instead of individual books, but there’s so much I want to read this summer! This list doesn’t even begin to cover it. So, without further ado:
1) The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren- I’ve heard only good things about this series, and I absolutely can’t wait to read it! Romance + Time travel = fantastic summer read.
2) Latte Daze and Double Shot (books 2 & 3 in the Maya Davis series) by Erynn Mangum- I’ve stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reading this woman’s books. She never fails to make me laugh. Her books, full of humor and romance, will bring sunshine into your life on those stormy summer afternoons.
3) A Charmed Life series by Jenny B. Jones- I can’t get enough of Jenny’s sarcastic humor and lovely writing. I just recently fell in love with her books and can’t wait to tackle my huge three-in-one volume of her Charmed Life series. It’s sure to keep my giggling by the pool by day and under the covers at night.
4) The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland- I won a copy of this one in a giveaway recently and it looks like the perfect summer/beach read. Not too thick, but has a great cover. It promises light entertainment with maybe a dash of romance.
5) Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi- I received an ARC copy as a giveaway prize a couple months ago and have been itching to get my hands on it! It’s waited so patiently for me in my nightstand drawer. Sounds like an irresistible dystopian that will keep me turning the pages the whole time.
6) Insurgent by Veronica Roth- You knew it had to be on here. I’ve yet to read it because I’m on an eternal waiting list for it at the library. Meh. Anyway, when it finally comes my turn to borrow it, I’m sure I’ll fly through it at lightspeed. I loved Divergent to death and can’t wait to get my hands on this second book in the trilogy.
7) The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien- Yeah, I know. I’m probably the only person in the universe that hasn’t read this trilogy. Well, sorry to break it to you, but I’m not a huge fan of fantasy, so that’s why it’s taken me so long to force myself to get around to reading it. This is attempt #2. But I will finish it this time. I will. I promise. I can do it…I can do it…you can do it, Shelby…
8) The Fault In Our Stars by John Green- Everyone needs an emotional book every once in a while to balance out all those carefree beach reads, right? This sounds like just the thing. Besides, I don’t know if I could deal with the stress of reading something too emotional during the school year…like deadlines and lack of sleep and math doesn’t put enough strain on me…
9) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens- This probably isn’t very realistic, since this book is realllly thick and…well, not boring, just not as interesting as, say, something written in this century a YA book. But there are so many classics I need to read, and this is where I’m starting.
10) Partials by Dan Wells- Um, I really don’t have a legit reason for this. I just haven’t gotten to it yet. And I need to. Because it sounds amazing. =)
Have you read any of these great titles? What are your Top Ten TBRs for this summer? Drop me a quick comment and let me know!
That’s all, gang! Be on the lookout for reviews of these ten epic books as I read them this summer. And come back next week for a brand new Top Ten Tuesday!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Published: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 327
Rating: Three stars? Two stars? Eh. I don’t know…
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined. [Book Description from Goodreads]
This book was a disappointment. I was so excited for it and went ahead and read it even though I had heard some horrible reviews of it. I immediately fell in love with the cover the minute I laid eyes on it, so there was no stopping me from reading it, bad reviews or not. Well, listen up, folks. A gorgeous cover does not guarantee that the book will be just as epic. *shakes head sadly*
To be honest, I was a little confused on how I felt about The Selection when I finished it. All I knew was that it wasn’t what I expected. Good thing I was on vacation and was restricted from internet access of any kind, because it gave me time to think a little. Here’s what I came up with from the tangle of my muddled thoughts:
1) The characters are hard to relate to. America, though her life is so tough (*fake sniffle*), has a handsome boy who visits her in her treehouse. Then, later on, after she’s entered the Selection, she has not one, but two boys falling for her. (Really? I am so tired of seeing this scenario in books. The majority of teen girls don’t have the problem of having to pick between two devilishly handsome and charming men. We’re lucky if we can get the attention of just one!) But I digress. Anyway, my point is that America is pretty much viewed as Superwoman. She’s beautiful. Everyone is jealous of her. The prince spends all his time with her. They become chummy. Everyone gets more jealous. She’s so brave when there’s rebel attacks and knows just what to do, and has no problems in the world. Woop-de-do.
2) Maxon. Um, I don’t care how many times the Selected candidates gushed about how hot and cute and altogether amazing Maxon was. I’m not buying it. The guy was stiff and awkward (not in the cute way) and way too formal. A lot of things in the palace were way too formal- like King Arthur formal. The girls weren’t supposed to wear pants and the royals had to wear their crowns all the time and they had to say “Prince Maxon” and “Your Highness” and all that flowery, medieval stuff. But I’m letting my thoughts flow together again. In short, Maxon wasn’t delicious at all, and that’s exactly what a handsome, eligible prince should be.
3) All the other contestants were so sweet and kind and lovely to each other. It wasn’t realistic at all. Ok, so Celeste was kind of mean at points, but not the kind of mean that girls are really capable of. I got tired of them all wanting to be friends; this is not Dr. Seuss, people.  
4) The ending was so inconclusive it was funny. The author hardly tied anything up at all. She left all the strings hanging, and the only cliffhanger she left for us was the question of which boy America will pick! How will I wait till the next book??? (*Oozes sarcasm*)
            So, there are my complaints. The only thing I really liked was the cover and the idea of the story. It could have been done so much better (if I had a nickel for every time I’ve hated a storyline but loved the idea…). As many other readers have said, The Selection is a lot like The Bachelor. It’s nothing like The Hunger Games at all, so don’t even go there. In conclusion, this book was an utter disappointment and even kind of ridiculous at some parts. I hate that I have to give such a harsh review to a book with such a beautiful cover, but that’s that. I don’t recommend The Selection-it’s just not what it’s cracked up to be.   
~In regard to the incident with reviewer Wendy Darling and The Selection author, Kiera Cass: first, reviewers post reviews of books FROM THEIR OPINIONS, and sometimes they will be negative reviews. This system is for the benefit of readers to get a peek at what they should read and what they should put back on the shelf. Reviews are NOT a personal bash against the author. Second, authors must learn to accept both positive and negative reviews. There will be plenty of both whether the book is great or awful- why? Because reviewers review FROM THEIR OPINIONS. Not everyone’s opinion will be the same. Authors must accept this- it’s all part of the journey of writing books. Criticism will make you stronger. Defending yourself when you get negative reviews is childish and shows lack of confidence. Third, and on a more hilarious note, agents need to get their noses out of their authors’ businesses. *grin* For more information about the incident, visit this article that was written in response to the situation.~
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: Mild (two or three minor words)
Violence: None
Sexual: Mild (America and Aspen, America’s boyfriend, make out in her treehouse at night. It’s mentioned they always stop right before “the things [they] really want.” Before the Selection, America is warned not to resist any of Maxon’s advances, however sensual they are. She’s pretty much told to let him do what he wants. Maxon turns out to be a gentleman, though).  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Published: October 10th, 2011
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 294
Rating: 5/5
As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.

But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?
[Book Description from Goodreads]
“Your job is not to have a life. Your job is to dance.”
            Hannah Ward has the life she always wanted. She’s a dancer (not a ballerina- there’s a difference) in the corps de ballet at the esteemed Manhattan Ballet Company. From early in the morning until well past dusk, Hannah and her friends spend their lives closed up in a large brick building, rehearsing and exercising and dieting and dancing and performing. They leave at night, sleep, and come back the next day to do it all over again. For them, there is no life outside dancing. They live in a city but do not call it home; they have relatives but do not call them family. There is one focus- dancing. There is one hope- promotion. Only utter devotion and unbelievable focus will get her there. When Hannah truly realizes the cost, she begins to question her dream.
            I absolutely devoured this book. And I’m still completely in love with it. Sophie gives us a backstage look at the goings-on of the life of a dancer. Behind the tulle and layers of makeup are girls who work and work and work sooo hard at what they do. Hannah left her family at age fourteen to go live in Manhattan. She didn’t go to prom, she didn’t have boyfriends, and her only companions are her fellow dancers. Venturing more than five miles outside the studio is frowned upon. Her life is dancing and her home is the theatre. It’s what every dancer dreams of.
With promotion hovering on the horizon, Hannah knows she will have to work harder, exercise longer, and lose even more weight. Then she meets Jacob. Jacob opens up a whole new world to her- a world she’s ignored and shut out from her life of dancing. Jacob introduces her to the amazing city she’s lived in for five years. He shows her his spontaneous dreams, and slowly Hannah realizes all that she’s been missing. And all that she will miss if she keeps her life on the track it’s on. She has to make the decision between a life of dance and a life in the outside world.
I loved Bunheads. Plain and simple. I loved seeing what dancing in the corps de ballet is really like, how difficult that life is. I seriously didn’t think people could still be that focused and devoted to one thing, but this book disproved that idea. I learned so much about ballet that I didn’t know, and it really gave me a new appreciation for those brave girls on pointe. I loved the romance between Hannah and Jacob, and I absolutely adored Jacob. Honest, the guy had an unrealistic, almost uncanny amount of patience with Hannah. She was so whiny at some points that any guy would have given up on her. But not Jacob.
In conclusion, I highly recommend Bunheads. It’ll sweep you into the world of ballet. The romance is fantastic, and the story will keep you entertained the whole time. There was a bit of profanity, some mild/moderate sexual content, and several mentions of female anatomy, as the size and shape of their bodies was a huge concern to the dancers. This overlooked, Bunheads is a great read. I might even pick it up again sometime. J

Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: Moderate- Heavy (includes the s-word, the b-word, the d-word, the h-word, and the f-word. Which pretty much covers all the bases.)
Violence: None
Sexual: Mild- Moderate (Hannah sleeps on her couch with Jacob- no sex. Some kissing. Mention of a dancer having to leave because she got herself pregnant. One of Hannah’s friends, Zoe, is known to act slutty. One of the dancers, Jonathan, is gay.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Published: January 1st, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 231
Rating: 4/5
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn't interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be - especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.
Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles's friend, Will Darcy, who's snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk - so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

            Lizzie Bennet is different than the rest of the girls at her school. She doesn’t care about $800 dresses or Jimmy Choos or Gucci bags. And she has zippo interest in prom. In fact, after only one semester at Longbourn, she’s sick of hearing about prom. Of course, this is beyond appalling to the other Longbourn girls. So appalling that she’s become the object of taunts and pranks. If she can just get through without too much physical or emotional harm coming to her, and soak up as much as she can from her music lessons, then everything will work out fine. But that was before that arrogant cod Will Darcy entered the scene…
            I usually try to avoid Pride and Prejudice spin-offs (or all Austen spin-offs, rather). Why? Well, long story short, if the spin-off turns out bad, it kind of sours the original book for me. But I gave Prom and Prejudice a go, and was surprised when it turned out alright. In fact, it was delightful and charming and kept me entertained the whole time through. I read it in record time- less than 24 hours (well, record time for me). It was a sweet, easy read and didn’t deface the original Austen work in the least.
            The story line follows along pretty closely with that of Pride and Prejudice, but is much more modernized, of course. I actually liked the modernized style, and wouldn’t mind trying another updated version of the Austen classic. Elizabeth was obviously very careful in not tainting the original story in her effort to recreate her version, and I applaud her for that, because many authors have absolutely mutilated many Austen titles in their efforts to design new versions. (let’s leave Austen and vampires separated, please). I was pleasantly delighted that Elizabeth didn’t stain the classic romance with her own awful version- no, quite the opposite.
            One thing I wished I saw more of was romance between Darcy and Elizabeth. It was very tame, and that’s perfectly alright, but kind of wish there was a least a kiss or two. This is my only complaint, and a bad one at that, since I’m usually complaining about an issue that’s the exact opposite- the content not being tame enough. I am thankful Elizabeth didn’t sexualize it overmuch, though, because that would have ruined it completely.
All in all, Prom and Prejudice was a delightful summer read that was both short and sweet. I highly suggest you add it to your pile of fanciful romances to read over the summer.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: None- Mild (one or two words, if I remember correctly)
Violence: None
Sexual: Mild (“Wick,” aka George Wickham, previously tried to take advantage of Darcy’s younger sister. The handsome devil also attempts to take advantage of Lydia, Jane’s wild younger sister. He’s stopped both times before anything come of it. Nothing described.)