Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: The Naughty List by Suzanne Young

Title: the Naughty List

Author: Suzanne Young


Who Should Read It? This book is for ALL lovers of YA - Seriously! ALL!

What I Have to Say:
I'm not really in the habit of giving books 5 stars, especially if they are your typical, run-of-the-mill YA novel like the Naughty List is. And probably the Naughty List doesn't actually deserve my 5 star rating, as there's nothing overwhelming deep or wonderful or profound about it - nothing to make it stand out as that shining star of a YA book that should be teaching lots of lessons and winning lots of rewards.

And yet - it was, hands down, the most readable YA novel I have read in a long time. It was sexy and flirty and fun and adorable and light and oh so utterly readable. It's got cheerleaders acting like no other cheerleaders you've ever known (if you're one of those cheerleader haters, the Naughty List, with it's super spies uncovering cheater boys at every turn, you might just have to rethink your cheerleader stance), sweet, wonderfully lovable boys mixed up with all the cheaters, and killer friendships.

This book is fluff, there are no two ways around it, but it's got enough strength of character and character development, along with creative writing style and adorable plot, to make you not feel like you've just wasted two hours filling your head with nothing. It also head on approaches cheating for the horrible, negative thing that it really is, and I've rarely read another book that does that. I love Young's way of attempting to create a new language for her characters - it's so strawberry smoothie! I love how Tessa and Aiden are so whipped cream. I also love that there is more to Tessa than one would ever imagine in the beginning. She seems so strong and put together, but as was inevitably the case, she is actually created from an innumerable number of layers. And I can't wait to get to know her better in the next books in the series.

Anyhow, loved this book! For serious! Read it, and you won't be disappointed!

Summary: As if being a purrfect cheerleader isn't enough responsibility! Tessa Crimson's the sweet and spunky leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens), a cheer squad—turned—spy society dedicated to bringing dastardly boyfriends to justice, one cheater at a time. Boyfriend-busting wouldn't be so bad . . . except that so far, every suspect on the Naughty List has been proven 100% guilty!

When Tessa's own boyfriend shows up on the List, she turns her sleuthing skills on him. Is Aiden just as naughty as all the rest, or will Tessa's sneaky ways end in catastrophe?

The Naughty List. Is your boyfriend on it?

Cover Story: Seriously, I love pink and turquoise together, so I think this cover is absolutely beautyrific! And then the whole girl on top of guy thing - behind a window. I kind of love it, tp be honest.

Disclosure: I won this book!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond

Title: My Sparkling Misfortune

Author: Laura Lond


Who Should Read It?
While this book is written for middle grade readers, I think all lovers of quirky fantasy will find something for themselves in My Sparkling Misfortune. If you've ever read and loved Patricia C. Wrede, this book is definitely for you. If not, well, you should probably give it a try anyway, because it's awesome!

What I Have to Say:
Ohman!!!! Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush! I absolutely ADORED this book! And I mean ADORED! It is the cutest book I have read since, well, since I read The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. And that's appropriate because, with a debut like My Sparkling Misfortune, Laura Lond really might just be the next Patricia C. Wrede. If you've read them, think of Princess Cimorene's quirky primness coming from a bad guy who is actually good but would never want to admit it and replace the dragons with sparklings, and you've got My Sparkling Mifortune.
If you've never read those books, well, what are you waiting for? Pick them up, but only after you've read My Sparkling Misfortune. You won't be disappointed!

The story starts off when evil Lord Arkus of Black River Castle, who is forever chased by a horrible otherworldy beast and can only take refuge in white towers (which are a good guy thing) is tricked and deceived by a prince. In order to redeem his evil name, he somehow finds himself being aided by a Sparkling, a magical creature from another world that can only do good and only help the good guys.

What then ensues is snarky hilariousness, magical wondrousness, and nonstop intrigue. I am not the kind of person who can normally read a book in one sitting, but this one I absolutely did. It's short (because it's aimed at middle grade readers) and every single word was necessary and wonderful. More than that, it's also one of those books with a message. Don't judge people - labeling is just confusing, and there is always more to any given person than a label could ever tell.

Don't be deterred that this was written for younger readers. IT IS FABULOUS (and that's coming from a 28 year old). It is perfect for middle grade readers, of course, but I think it can be enjoyed by adults of all ages, and I do hope you'll give this book a chance!

Summary: Lord Arkus of Blackriver Castle readily admits that he is a villain and sees no reason why it should stop him from being the protagonist of this book. After all, Prince Kellemar, an aspiring hero, has defeated him in a rather questionable way. Bent on revenge, Arkus attempts to capture a powerful evil spirit who would make him nearly invincible, but a last-minute mistake leaves him with a sparkling instead a goody-goody spirit that helps heroes, watches over little children, and messes up villains plans. Bound to Lord Arkus for five years of service and sworn to act in his best interests, the sparkling is not easy to get rid of, and of course his understanding of best interests is quite different from what Lord Arkus has in mind.

Cover Story: I had actually never seen the cover of this book before reading it, as I was sent an e-copy. I do, though, think that the cover is adorable. It's not exactly how I imagined any of the characters, but it'll do.

Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review by the publisher. This in no way affected my review.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Things I Love As Much as Books (16)

So, I think it's a given that I love to read. Don't we all?
The thing is, though, there are a TON of other things in my life that I love just as much as reading. Sure, most of these things aren't as constant as reading, but they count just as much in my life when I'm loving them.
SO, I decided to start this weekly feature in which I write a short post about something in my life that I am loving just as much as reading!

I have tried very hard on numerous occasions to get into Japanese drama - it seems like, if I could like it, it would be a super great way to practice my Japanese listening skills. And yet, I've never been able to find one I like. Until now.

I find myself OBSESSED with Nodame Cantabile, an adorable drama about two piano students at music school. I just finished the 11 episodes of the series and am DYING to watch the Europe special and then the two movies that follow. Nodame isd sort of flitty and totally reminds me of myself (which is probably not a good thing), and Chiaki is serious and super talented, and, aside from the occasional issue, their relationship is the most adorable thing ever.

My favorite character is an adorable violin student called Mine (Eita in life), who loves rock! He's super doofy and awesome, just like I like em!

Apparently he and the main actress, who plays Nodame, are in another drama, Last Friends, together, and I now MUST watch it.

Yay! Thank you Nodame for being so awesome and being my J-Drama gateway drug! :-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Title: the Book of Tomorrow

Author: Cecelia Ahern


Who Should Read It? I would say you should check this out if you love Cecelia Ahern, but given that I've never read anything else by her, that might not be apt. It has a fairly YA feel to it, so I think that it's great for fans of YA or of creative mysteries!

What I Have to Say:
My first experience with Cecelia Ahern was P.S. I Love You, and even though I loved the movie, and even though it seems like the kind of book I should adore, I couldn't finish it. I can honestly say that it is maybe one of 5 books I have ever not finished in my life - I got maybe three or four chapters in and then gave up. And to this day I still can't say why.
Still, since then, I find myself for some reason always attracted to her books and wanting to read her other ones - and not letting myself because I remember my experience with P.S. I Love You. Well, with the Book of Tomorrow, I finally decided to get over my Cecelia Ahern boycott and give one of her books a try. And boy am I glad I did. To the point in which I'm now thinking I've got to go try P.S. I Love You Again.

The Book of Tomorrow is fast-paced and exciting and creative and well-written and, just, wonderful! I couldn't put it down. I LOVED it!

In the beginning, Tamara Goodwin, our first-person narrator, is bratty and self-centered, and I wonder if there is any way for her to ever redeem herself. She announces to us right off that she is going to, but frankly, I had trouble believing. Tamara's life changes when her Dad dies and leave them in debt. With her mom, they have to move to live with her weird Aunt and Uncle in the country. Her life then proceeds to change even more when she discovers a journal in a traveling library (how COOL is that?!?) that seems to contain entries that SHE has written from the next day.

With the help of the diary, crazy mysteries are uncovered and Tamara (who by the end does, indeed, become an almost likable character) discovers that her life is actually way crazier than she ever could have imagined. The Book of Tomorrow will have you excitedly sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next foretelling entry in Tamara's life - and wondering how Tamara is going to deal with whatever new revelation she discovers. Ahern does a great job of writing this in a slightly choppy, self-obsessed way, as if she really is a teenager writing.

Ahern has created a beautiful story of love and revenge, and if you can remember what it feels like to be in the mind of a teenager, you'll love this book. Especially if you were a slightly bratty teenager. :-P I think this book is worth checking out!

Summary:The magical new novel from number one bestseller Cecelia Ahern. Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she's ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She's always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara's childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin.When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core.

Cover Story: Love this cover! It's so magical and mystical seeming, and I adore the way it ties in with the book. The colors are also beautiful!

Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review by the publisher.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back Sort-of Maybe

So I've been gone for a really long time (and I managed to lose 4 followers in my gone time - sadness) - with Christmas and the new year and traveling and never being settled, it feels like I haven't posted in almost a month.

I've missed you guys, and I hope you've missed me, too!

Today, I am sick (and thus the sort-of maybe in the title), and I just want to get in bed, so I won't type up a review, but rest assured that from tomorrow on, now that I am back in Japan, I'm BACK! And you can except nearly non-stop awesome reviews and other fun bookish stuff. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of reading your blogs as well.

So, big huge sorry, and I hope you haven't forgotten about me! I know I haven't forgotten about you!

My Contests

None for now!