Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sweet Baby Cakes, I Want This Room!

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 4 comments Links to this post
The colors are gorgeous and bright. There's so many shelves that you need a ladder to get to all of the books and the chairs look nice and comfy. Oh close your eyes and picture it? *sigh* What a gorgeous room to have in your house. The bright green curtain adds a touch of beauty to an already beautiful room and it covers up the books so would I really need it?

Oh man, let me stop it before I get a little too crazy with the fantasy. Seriously though, how gorgeous is this library?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 9 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Jordan, Courtney
Love Interest: Courtney, Jordan
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

There are two sides to every breakup.


This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They're even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.


Then Jordan dumps Courtney -- for a girl he met on the Internet.


It's too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney's heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la -- this is Courtney pretending not to care.


But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.


Turns out, he's got a secret or two that he's not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can't get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.


Ames read and reviewed this book here on this blog (you could read her review here) and it's been on my TBR list ever since and when she sent it to me (awesome friend that she is), I was excited. Why it took me so long to read it? I'll never know but I'm glad that I did read it. With summer underway, my mood has switched from the darker side of YA (haha parents beware) and has steady been stuck in YA contemporary romances. I also just finished reading Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt and I wanted to read another book by her so I picked this one up.

The story follows Courtney and Jordan, who were a couple until Jordan dumps Courtney right before they're too travel to college together (they're both going to the same school), road trip style. Another road trip story and another road trip story that I enjoyed. What made me enjoy this story was watching Jordan and Courtney together. You can totally tell that something isn't right with Jordan and the mystery was never quite a mystery to me. I knew immediately what happened and why Jordan dumped Courtney right from the very beginning.

The story is told through both Courtney and Jordan's POV and it was easy to follow along, which is something I appreciated because with all of the head hopping, it would have been easy to get confused but I wasn't confused at all. Barnholdt did a great job of jumping right into the thick of things so I didn't have to wade through all of that beginning of the book stuff that I sometimes can't stand but there wasn't any of that with this book.

Most of the book takes place on the road and while this book isn't as good as Amy & Roger's Epic Detour (no offense), it was still quite enjoyable. There were things in this book that annoyed me but I didn't stay annoyed long so it was all good. Mostly, I was annoyed with Courtney and her teenage angst at having to be in the same car with Jordan for three days. I understood why she wasn't all happy go lucky, even respected it but her whining got to be a bit much in some parts and I wanted to smack her and tell her to shut up quite a few times.

I wish Jordan had just been honest about everything right from the jump. I wish he had trusted Courtney to not be mad at him and I wish he had handled everything differently but alls well that ends well and it was an enjoyable way to spend a few summer weekend hours losing yourself into Jordan and Courtney's world. This book took me back to high school though with all of the teenage antics that Jordan, Courtney and their best friends get into over the course of the book. It brought a smile to my face at the same time that I was cringing because you just knew the crap was going to hit the fan and it wasn't going to be pretty. Courtney's Dad was a douche, one of the biggest douche's I've read about in a while.

Overall, the story was great and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who was in the mood for some light, fluffy reading over the summer vacation (like at the beach or park or something). Barnholdt delivers a smile spreading, charming story about two kids that fall in love and the drama that could only happen in a teenage relationship.

For all my Moms out there, I'd give this book a rating of:

This book deals with an older teenage couple and their problems. May not be suitable for kids under the age of 13.
..and that's your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 3 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Adam Wilde
Love Interest: Mia
Series: If I Stay, Book 2
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads


It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend.

When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

When I finished reading If I Stay, I didn't know that this book was coming not too long after. I remember finishing the book and wishing that I got to know Adam more and Gayle Forman gave me more Adam by writing this book and I swear that I'm going to name my next baby after her. Unless it's a boy than I'll probably name him like Forman or something, anyway you get my drift. I wanted this book and finally got it and I freaking loved it.

Every freaking minute of it, I loved.

This book takes place three years after Mia's accident and it shows us what happened from the time Mia left the hospital til now. Sure, it's strung along differently but still, we got the scoop and I ate up every word. The story is told by switching back and forth from present day to the past and Adam fills in the blanks for us. I'm a huge fan of the way that this book was written, I loved getting to know Adam, getting into his head and experiencing everything through Adam's eyes.

I thought I loved him in If I Stay but nothing prepared me for how much I loved him in this book.

What really got to me was seeing how everything turned out. It was so different from what I thought would happen after I put down If I Stay. After If I Stay, the ending was a happy for now kind of ending and I thought that Adam and Mia would be together forever, only in this book we're shown that they didn't end up together and it tore Adam up.

You knew that they had that once in a lifetime love in If I Stay but to see them go through the last couple of years in this book made their journey to that true love all the more enjoyable because when you finished If I Stay, their romance made sense. Their love is what got Mia through and what kept Adam going.

But in Where She Went, Mia distanced herself from Adam. They didn't end up together and your heart broke all over again and the feelings that you felt when you were reading about Mia's horrible experiences from then and seeing the aftermath and what her disappearance did to Adam, it was like your heart was bleeding all over again. And damn if Gayle Forman didn't pick those pieces up and show you that though love is real, it's not always rays of sunshine.

Seeing where time has taken both Adam and Mia's life and seeing how far they've both come was such a wonderful roller coaster of emotions. I felt it all while reading this book and I couldn't read this book fast enough. I was so locked in Adam's world, my heart hurting for him and putting the book down was just not an option for me. I loved every minute of this book, getting to see everyone again from the band, getting to hear about Kim and see what she's up to, seeing Mia and Adam meeting up again - goodness, I could go on but I won't because really, just pick this book up and see for yourself. You won't be sorry, Gayle Forman can weave the heck out of a story and she'll make you fall in love with her characters and before you know it, you'll be hooked.

This book was a wonderful addition to a fantastic book and the characters that you came to love in If I Stay will warm your heart all over again. There were times when it was hard to get through this book because of all of the new people that came into Adam's life, seeing how low Adam had gone in his grief, seeing the distance that he created for him and everyone around him because there was this huge wall separating him from the world. But reading through everything, seeing Mia again and coming to realize why she did what she did to him. It all made the reading experience that much greater to me. I loved it all. I think what I loved most of all was that Mia finally recognized that she wasn't the only person that lost her family. Her grandparents weren't the only people outside of her that loved her parents and Teddy. Adam lost them and loved them too. He grieved for them to and she wasn't there for him. After everything he did for her, he needed her and she wasn't there. Seeing them work through their problems struck me where it hurts but man did I love it all anyway.

I know that this review is all fan girly and I'm sorry but I can't help it. I absolutely adored this book and want everyone to read and love this book too. What are you waiting for, run out and get these books and read them. You won't be sorry!

Reading Order:


For all my Moms out there, I'd give this book a rating of:


This book is suitable for the 13 and up crowd, it's got mature themes and lots of teenage angst and language.

..and that's your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

Monday, June 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (29)

Posted by Rowena at 10:00 AM 7 comments Links to this post
It's been a quiet week for my mailbox this week, but I did get some books after my trip to the Used Bookstore yesterday. Check out my stash:




The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen|Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen|Dreamland by Sarah Dessen|I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter|Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson|Naomi & Eli's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan|The Clearing by Heather Davis|Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty


Someone took my copy of The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen so you know I had to fix that and get another book, I was over the moon when I saw all of these SD books at my UBS so woo hoo for me!

What was in your inbox/mailbox this week?

..and that's your scoop!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Watch: My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kellly Martin.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 2 comments Links to this post

Ashlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing—no memories, no self—and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a sea of stars. Is she in a coma? She doesn't remember dying, and she has no memories of the life she left behind. All she knows is that she's trapped in a consciousness without a body and she's spending every moment watching a stranger.

Breckon Cody's on the edge. He's being ripped apart by grief so intense it literally hurts to breathe. On the surface, Breckon is trying to hold it together for his family and his girlfriend, but underneath he's barely hanging on.

Even though she didn't know him in life, Ashlyn sees Breckon's pain, and she's determined to find a way help him. As her own distressing memories emerge from the darkness, she struggles to communicate with the boy who can't see her, but whose life is suddenly intertwined with hers. In alternating voices of the main characters, My Beating Teenage Heart paints a devastatingly vivid picture of both the heartbreak and the promise of teenage life—a life Ashlyn would do anything to recover and Breckon seems desperate to destroy—and will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, John Green, and David Levithan.
This sounds like something I'd enjoy so I'm looking forward to reading it. It doesn't come out for a few months (release date is marked as September 27, 2011) so I still have a bit of a wait but still, it just sounds good so I'm excited for this one.

I've read one book by this author and I enjoyed it so I'm looking forward to reading more. Who will be reading this book?

..and that's your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: She Went All The Way by Meg Cabot.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 6 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Lou Calabrese
Love Interest: Jack Townsende
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Success hasn't spoiled screenwriter Lou Calabrese -- it's just given her a taste for luxury. And it's put her in some bizarre situations -- like in a helicopter en route to the wilds of Alaska, sharing too-close quarters with the last man she wants to be with: Jack Townsend! Once a sexy nobody whom Lou helped make a somebody, Jack's just been dumped by a high-profile Hollywood airhead -- who's eloped with Lou's longtime love! So what else could go wrong?

Well...

Their pilot could try to shoot the most adored man in America. They could crash land in the icy, mountainous middle of nowhere. And at the worst possible moment, when survival should be their only consideration, Jack could start wondering if maybe he wasn't a wee bit too hasty for not giving this sexy screenwriter a second look -- while Lou could start noticing how superstar Jack is kind of hot after all ...

Jack Townsende is one yummy piece of man. He's one of those action hero movie stars and he knows that he's the sexiest man alive....and Lou Calabrese hates the ever living heck out of him. She hates him because one of her best friends was left heartbroken by the insufferable Jack Townsende. The story starts off with Lou finding out that her man has eloped with Jack's ex girlfriend. Lou's left in the dust, heartbroken but Jack couldn't care less.

So Lou's a screenwriter and she's flying out to a movie set to make sure that the director doesn't blow anything up for real and guess who the movie star is? Jack freaking Townsende, that's who. She's not wild about being stuck with him and when they're held up together, they try to figure out who's trying to kill Jack. It could be anyone since he's a heart breaker.

This book was another laugh out loud fun filled book that only Meg Cabot can write. She writes the kind of books that you won't be able to put down because you're too busy laughing your tail off. Jack is all kinds of hot and Lou is all kinds of funny. Jack is a little older than the heroes that I'm used to reading but that didn't bother me any because he was a sexy beast.

I love that Lou was fiercely loyal to everyone she cared about and I adored that she wasn't one of those stubborn heroines that got on your hot damn nerves. I wanted to be her best friend even though I was having such naughty thoughts about her man. If we were in a YA novel, we'd be the perfect pair because that seems to be hot these days in the YA genre.

If you enjoy Meg Cabot's adult books then I'm sure you'll enjoy this book. It's not the best of her books but it's still fun and cute and you should definitely read it.

For all my Moms out there, I'd give this book a rating of:

There's mature content and this is a book written for adults so parents beware!

..and that's your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma.

Posted by Rowena at 2:00 PM 11 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Lochan and Maya Whitely
Love Interest: Maya and Lochan Whitely (highlight to find out)
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives--and the way they understand each other so completely--has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

I saw this book around blog land long before it came out and I was mighty intrigued by it since it was getting such high marks and it was about incest. Normally, I wouldn’t have touched this book because a brother and sister falling in love just isn’t my cup of tea but I’m so glad that I read this book. This story was heartbreaking and it was hard to get through but man was it wonderfully written. Suzuma did a fantastic job of drawing me into Lochan and Maya’s home life and making me feel a part of their story.

This story gives us an inside look into the lives of 18 year old Lochan Whitely. He’s the oldest of five children and his father skipped out on them and their mother is never around. She’d much rather try to capture whatever’s left of her youth (which isn’t much) by going out with her boss who’s already married than stay home and be a mother to her kids. That leaves the two older kids to raise the younger kids. Mainly it’s Lochan and Maya playing Mom and Dad to their younger siblings. Both Lochan and Maya share responsibility for their younger siblings and while they’re rather be kids themselves, they can’t because there’s no one else to care for the kids, Tiffin and Willa. On top of taking care of the two younger siblings, they had to deal with a very pissed off thirteen year old named Kit (their other brother) who was pissed off at the world and took it out on Lochan. So to say that Lochan is a busy young man is putting it mildly because while he’s trying to keep his family together (and functioning), he’s got some serious social issues.

Lochan’s got a lot going on emotionally. He works from sun up to sun down and he worries about things that a normal eighteen year old shouldn’t have to worry about. While I was reading this book, I couldn’t help but want to help Lochan and want to hug him close. His character is deeply troubled and the only person that helps him out is his sister Maya. Maya is two years younger than he is and she tackles the same worries that Lochan has right along with him because they only have each other to lean on. They’re the mother and father figure to their siblings and they don’t act like a normal brother and sister. It should have surprised me that they would develop feelings for each other but it didn’t. When they start feeling for each other, it feels normal. You know that it’s not normal and you know that they shouldn’t want to do things with each other but you’re not repulsed by it all because you understand that their relationship is not a normal one. Their family life isn’t a normal one. They have nobody else to lean on, just the two of them and they always make it work.

My heart went out to Lochan because he was always thinking of someone besides himself. He looked after the kids, he looked after Maya all while dealing with the fact that speaking in public or to anyone outside of his family freaked the ever living heck out of him. Speaking in class, to outside adults brought on panic attacks and made him break out in a sweat that scared him and the only person that could talk him down from these attacks was Maya. He got a lot of grief from Kit and at night after the house was quiet and he finally had time to himself, he would do the stuff he needed to do for school.

The way that Lochan dealt with his feelings for Maya was how I would imagine anyone would deal with falling in love with their sibling. They would be bothered, they would want to hide their feelings and Lochan did a credible job of trying to stay away from Maya. Maya on the other hand knew what was in her heart and it hurt her that the law, society and everyone else wouldn’t understand and let her be with the one person who understood her and needed her most. The one boy she would always love just happened to be her brother.

You knew that this couldn’t end well and the ending broke my heart and it was the ending that made me give this book a B instead of the A that everyone else gave it. I walked around with a broken heart for days after I finished this book because of everything that both Maya and Lochan were put through but mostly because of Lochan. He was such a good kid and he tried to do the right thing but sometimes, you just have to follow your heart and suffer the consequences. More than anyone, Lochan suffered and my heart bled for him and for his siblings.

Reading this story made me so angry at the Whitely’s parents. Putting the job of raising kids on top of Lochan’s shoulders like that was wrong on so many levels because it was their fault that these kids didn’t have a normal life and it was their fault that everything went down the way that it did. I hated how their mother came in at the eleventh hour and tried to save the day without knowing a hot damn thing about anything. I wanted to beat her with a 2x4. I still do.

This book isn’t a beautiful story, it’s heartbreaking and it’s emotional but it’s good. It’ll stay with you long after you’ve put it down and you’ll want more for everyone involved but you won’t be sorry you read this book. Give it a try. Kudos to Tabitha Suzuma on writing a wonderfully epic story about a boy trying to get through life one day at a time.

..and that's your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

Monday, June 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (28)

Posted by Rowena at 10:00 AM 2 comments Links to this post
It was a pretty quiet reading week for me but I got some books in the mail that put a smile on my face. Check it out:



Clean by Amy Reed|Serendipity by Carly Phillips|Fury by Elizabeth Miles|Wildefire by Karsten Knight|Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia

Lots to look forward to reading in the coming weeks so you know I'm a happy camper! What did you guys get this week?

..and that's your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Guest Review: Beatle Meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams

Posted by ~ames~ at 1:00 PM 5 comments Links to this post

Main Character:
John "Beatle" Lennon
Love Interest: Destiny McCartney
Series: n/a
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Good Reads
Imagine your name is John Lennon, but everyone calls you Beatle.

And then you meet your dream girl, and her name is
Destiny McCartney.

But you meet her on Friday the 13th-and you're very superstitious. Not to mention that you're already dating the perfect girl, who happens to be your twin sister's best friend...

Beatle
can't imagine ever leaving his girlfriend, Cilla, who supported him after the stroke that changed his life and left him with a limp. Still, he knows that the only thing worse than staying with the wrong person is missing the chance to be with the right one.
I am somewhat torn over this book. On one level I thoroughly enjoyed it because the writing is witty and engaging but on the other, there’s infidelity. I had just finished reading another book that had infidelity in it before I read this one so when Beatle met Destiny and went out with her and kissed while he had a girlfriend, I was a bit ticked off. I didn’t like Beatle. And yet he’s a really likeable guy. I don’t know if this would have bothered me differently if I hadn’t read that other book and had that fresh in my mind.

First some background on Beatle. He’s a twin. Only his twin sister, Winsome, was born almost two months after him. When his mother was pregnant with him and his non-identical twin sister she was in a car crash and Beatle came early. But his sister got to stay snug as a bug in a rug and was born healthy on their due date. Being a twin is a theme throughout this book, and a cute one.

Also, Beatle’s mom is a Beatle’s fan, so his real name is John Lennon. And he’s superstitious although he tries to pretend he’s not. So it’s February, Friday the 13th and Beatle wants to go home early. Except he sees a really interesting girl at the bus stop and chats her up. And he falls for her, big time. And there’s witty conversation and they have a giggle when they realize her name last name is McCartney and Destiny says her friends would think it’s a sign. Destiny is anti-signs. She’s heard enough destiny jokes over the years to be a bit cynical. But her friends are into signs. And it’s all kind of funny because Destiny writes the horoscopes for the local paper.

So these two quirky characters are surrounded by other quirky characters and it’s cute the way they all interact and the coincidences that bring them all together.

All in all, the story about Beatle and Destiny was a really good one. And the writing! Again, very enjoyable. I am in love with this author’s writing.
She was wearing a tight T-shirt with the word "Lamb" written across it in gothic writing. Her army fatigues slung from hip to hip like a hammock he'd like to crawl into on a lazy summer afternoon. She had that mouth of hers on her face.
And this:
So you can imagine his surprise when, after Photography, he found his very own fingers secretly scrolling through his address book until Destiny's number came up on the screen. And then-the impertinence of his very own body-his thumb pressed the 'dial' button.

And his arm put the phone up to his very own ear and waited while the number rang.

It was only a matter of time before she was going to damn well ansewr.

The question was: What was his mouth going to do about it?
And the humour. Quite a few laugh out loud moments that had my family looking at me like I was crazy. Also, cool points for the setting. BmD takes place in Melbourne, Australia. I really enjoyed that. It was different enough but also not too different. Quirky even? LOL

Now onto Beatle’s infidelity. *sigh* He meets Destiny, they kiss, they run into each other the next day (Valentine’s day) and they have this awesome date. And while he’s doing this he doesn’t think about his wonderful girlfriend Cilla at all. Until after. And what I didn’t like about Beatle was that he’d rather avoid the issue, act like an ass in an effort to get her to break up with him. WHY do guys do this? Why are they so afraid of being seen as the bad guy when them acting like an asshole to get the girl to break up with them makes them the bad guy anyway?? So kudos to Gabrielle Williams for writing a character that really does act like a teen boy. LOL I guess I would have rather him come clean to Cilla and Destiny instead. But if he’d have done that we wouldn’t have had the good book that I really did enjoy. And a lot of what happens in this story hinges on what Beatle does to avoid the two girls in his life from knowing about each other.

All right then – in the end I’m giving Beatle meets Destiny a solid B. I really enjoyed all the characters (even Beatle because he’s so real), the dialog, the writing and the story. This was a fun quirky book and I really did like the way it ended. It was funny and made sense. I definitely recommend this book. Go read it!


Buy the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

p.s. The author really should get her own website. :(

Photobucket

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin.

Posted by Rowena at 1:00 PM 3 comments Links to this post

Main Character: Julia
Love Interest:
Series: None that I know of.
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Julia and Eliza are best friends, spending the summer together. Julia's mother is serving in the National Guard and Julia spends all of her time trying not to think about what could happen. So the girls lose themselves in their summer, hanging out at the resort where Eliza's father works. But when they meet a new boy, neither one of them is prepared for what it does to their friendship.

Nora Raleigh Baskin delivers a poignant look at the way a first crush can come between best friends and the importance of hanging on to the time you have as a kid before rushing into growing up.

What a delightful treat this book turned out to be. I almost didn't read this book because the beginning of the book didn't catch my attention and hold it as fast as I would have wanted but I'm glad that I stuck with this book because it turned out to be a good read.

This is one of those coming of age books that you'll come to love over the course of the story. It's about growing up, family and the effects the war has on those that are left behind. I really felt for Julia and came to love her so much while reading this book. Seeing her with Eliza, seeing her grow up from the live in her own world tween to the girl she was at the end made for some interesting reading. I thought Baskin did a wonderful job of telling this story through the eyes of a pre-teen. Baskin stayed true to Julia's voice and made her so real to me and I enjoyed it all.

It couldn't have been easy growing up the way that Julia grew up, with her Mom serving in the military and having those constant worries and I sympathized with everything that Julia went through. She grew up quite a bit in that one summer and my heart totally went out to her.

This is one of those books where you'll just have to read it to get what I'm talking about but I can say that it was an enjoyable read, one that I will definitely have my daughter read because it's something that I think she'd enjoy. Watching Julia start noticing boys made me smile and reminisce back to my first crush, his name was Timothy and we went to the same elementary school.

Overall, this was an enjoyable coming of age story that I would definitely recommend. I think Baskin captured Julia perfectly and people who read this book will connect with Julia because they'll remember being her age and having the same worries and children of parents serving in the war will empathize with Julia because they'll know exactly what she's going through. It's a great story, one that I enjoyed quite a bit.

..and that's your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hello, My Name is Rowena....

Posted by Rowena at 11:00 AM 5 comments Links to this post

....and I'm an adult who reads YA books.

Not too long ago, the YA community was up in arms (and rightly so) over a WSJ article about (overreacting) parents who are worried about the state of YA books. They're too dark, they're too suicidal and blah blah blah.

The thing that didn't make a lick of sense to me was that the parent who was shopping for a book for her kid said that there were only books about violence and suicide and just all over dark shit.

I'm sorry but that is just not true. If she would have walked to the next aisle or looked to the left of the dark stuff, she would have found the lighter side of the YA genre. She would have found the Sarah Dessen books, the Meg Cabot books, the Kristina Springer books, all of the contemporary romantic books that are all light and fluffy and perfect for the kid who is not into the dark stuff.

While I understand that there are a lot of YA books with dark themes (suicide, death, violence, etc...), what she failed to see is that the dark side of YA is only a part of the YA genre as a whole. I know this because I'm an adult and mother of a pre-teen kid who reads YA. I read the Hunger Games (lots of graphic violence) and Thirteen Reasons Why (suicide). I know that they're probably not appropriate reading material for my 12 year old daughter right now but I know that because I've read them, not because the covers are dark and scary and are shelved next to other dark and scary looking books.

I also know that in a couple of years I want my daughter to read those books because they're good stories. The stories were about a whole lot more than suicide and violence. It was about life, the choices you make and the consequences that follow. Those stories made me take stock of the person that I am and the person I want to be. I want that for my daughter. I want her to be able to realize that her actions and sometimes, her non-actions affect those around her. In my opinion, the darker books of YA can help shape our kids into better people. I'm not saying that all of the dark books can but some of them can.

There are a lot of good YA books out there and when I say a lot, I really do mean a lot. The YA genre has grown considerably since I was a teenager and if the books that are out now came out when I was younger, I would have started reading a lot sooner. There is an incredible amount of talent out there writing YA fiction and that's a good thing.

I enjoy reading YA for a number of reasons. These books take me back to my high school years. I've heard time and time again that your high school years will be the best four years of your life and these books take me back to those days. I had a good experience in high school. I wasn't the most popular girl in school but I can look back on high school with a smile on my face because the memories I have from that time in my life were good ones. Not all good but totally worth it. Everything that happened to me in my past has shaped me into the person I am today and I'm okay with that.

When I open up a YA book, I can connect with the main character because I've been there. I know exactly what she's feeling and I empathize with her. I can see the people from my high school in every single YA book that I read. I have pictures of the hot boys from my school in my head when I'm reading about the hot guys in the main character's school. The characters become that much more real to me because I've been right where these characters have been and I know that in the end, things get better.

These characters might have to deal with vampires, zombies, unicorns and whatever mythical creatures are thrown their way but at the heart of everything, these characters are young and they're dealing with the same issues that I went through when I was their age and sometimes, it's good to go back to those days.

To the parents who are set trippin' on the YA genre, you want to hate on the YA genre? Fine, hate on it but hate on it because you've read the books and know what you're talking about. Don't hate and judge the YA genre because the covers are too dark for your tastes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Watch: Original Sin (Personal Demons #2) by Lisa Desrochers.

Posted by Rowena at 6:00 AM 2 comments Links to this post
It's been quite a while since I've put one of these up so I thought it was about time I get my butt in gear and start paying more attention to this blog. I've had lots of things going on in my real life that were getting in the way of my posting (most of the posts/reviews that I've put up lately have been written a while ago) so I guess this post will serve as the kick in the butt that I need to get this blog up and running more smoothly.

Yesterday, I posted my wish list for June but today's Book Watch will feature a book that I'm super stoked about but doesn't come out for a while yet and because I'm me, I'm anxious.

Check it out:


Luc Cain was born and raised in Hell, but he isn’t feeling as demonic as usual lately—thanks to Frannie Cavanaugh and the unique power she never realized she had. But you can’t desert Hell without consequences, and suddenly Frannie and Luc find themselves targeted by the same demons who used to be Luc’s allies.

Left with few options, Frannie and Luc accept the protection of Heaven and one of its most powerful angels, Gabe. Unfortunately, Luc isn’t the only one affected by Frannie, and it isn’t long before Gabe realizes that being around her is too…tempting. Rather than risk losing his wings, he leaves Frannie and Luc under the protection of her recently-acquired guardian angel.

Which would be fine, but Gabe is barely out the door before an assortment of demons appears—and they’re not leaving without dragging Luc back to Hell with them. Hell won’t give up and Heaven won’t give in. Frannie’s guardian exercises all the power he has to keep them away, but the demons are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell’s grasp.

And not everyone will get out of it alive.

I read and enjoyed the first book in this series, Personal Demons and I really enjoyed it. I can't wait to read this book so I'm really anxious for it. This book comes out July 5, 2011 so mark your calendars, we're getting more Luc and Gabe and Frannie, woot!

..and that's your scoop!

Pre-order the book: B&N|Borders|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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