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Saturday, March 28, 2009

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson




Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes

Author: Maureen Johnson

Publisher: HarperCollins, New York, 2005

Pages: 317 ps

Rating: * * * * */5


For whatever reason, I didn't really want to read this book. I checked it out because a friend had told me Ms. Johnson is such a terrific writer, and my library only had this book. I didn't read it for at least a month! Then I read all my other books, and went, "Why not," and read it.

I was fascinated. I literally couldn't put it down, I even took it to lunch with me!
13 Little Blue Envelopes is about Ginny Blackstone, whose self-proclaimed "Runaway Aunt" Peggy died of a brain tumor 2 years ago. Ginny loved her aunt, even though she left suddenly and they didn't know where in the world (literally) she was, because she was so flighty. So when she gets a package containing 13 little blue envelopes from Peggy, she knows she's in for an adventure. That's what she loved about her aunt, she was always doing something.
Inside little blue envelope 1 is $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London.
Envelope 2 contains directions to a specific London flat.
Envelope 3 states: Find a starving artist.
And because of envelope 4, Ginny and her selected starving artist, Keith, a playwright/ thief/ bloke-about-town, head off to Scotland to meet her Aunt Peggy's favorite artist, who Peggy had stayed with and learned from, with disastrous and somewhat romantic results. But Ginny doesn't know if she'll ever see him again.
But the other envelopes contain trips to Paris and Rome, so who is she to complain?

What I really liked about this book that most people would hate was that it was so unbelievable, yet real in it's characters, as well as culturally correct (I mean, as best I could tell, but I'm not an expert!), but in the sense that you don't know what'll happen next. "The Runaway Aunt's" letters were always funny and self-deprecating, and Ginny had a LOT of crazy, funny, sad and/or romantic experiences all over the globe.
You also got to watch her change into an adult- especially after that nasty stoner hostel she was at! It's really a great book, up there with Jaclyn Moriarty's work.





Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Devil In The Details: Scenes From An Obsessive Girlhood by Jenny Traig



Title: Devil In the Details
Author: Jennifer Traig
Rating: ****/5

This book is Jenny Traig's bio of her childhood. It definitely wasn't a normal childhood- she had a religious type of OCD called scrupulosity, as well as other types of it too. I grabbed this book because I wanted to know more about OCD, but instead I ended up laughing my head off! From washing all her possesions because she thought they were "contaminated by her sister's bacon fumes" to feeding each stuffed animal every night, Jenny did it. She says she loved being a Jew because of all the rules- so many things for her to worry and obsess over!
Each chapter has an interstitial in it, which i thought were all really funny, such as a diagram showing how her sister's room is the "gateway to the underworld" because of all the bacon her sister, Vicky, ate, and sample SAT questions for obsessive-compulsives.
My very favorite part was her lining up her extensive collection of stuffed animals (alphabetically of course), taking a plastic egg bowl and a spoon, and giving a bite to each and every one of them, a nice treat of fresh air, and going, "abiteforyouabiteforyouabiteforyou" down the line. Only then, and after her unconventional prayer session involving aerobics at the end (:, could she go to bed.
A realy great thing about this book is that it makes you feel a little less crazy, and crazier at the same time. I do or used to do a lot of what Jenny did!
The only reason I didn't give this 5 is that I kind of lost attention sometimes, I don't know why, but only a few times. Definitely good.




A Wonderful Funderful Thing Called BookMooch

Ever wish you could get a book free, no strings attatched? There's a web site that will help yuo do that- and it's name is Book Mooch! Join for free by creating a username and screen name and entering your email, which should be one you check frequently- people will send you book requests through here. Type up a list of books you own that you would like to sell, and then type up a wishlist of books you would like from others. Simple, and you get books out of it! I haven't joined yet, don't have the email thing sorted out, but from what I understand you do all this, and when people type in a book they would like and you have that book on your list to sell, your list will pop up, and they will email you a request, and they might have a book you want on their list and trade, or maybe they just pay if you don't... but it works vice versa as well, liek if they have a book you want.
I just found it an hour ago, and I'm in love with it, I can't wait to join. If you haven't heard of it already, go join! And if you have any extra info on it, post a comment and I'll revise the post.
:) :D ;) ;D

Monday, March 23, 2009

Top 8 by Katie Finn


Title: Top 8
Author: Katie Finn
Rating: ***/5

Top * starts with a girl named Madison MacDonald's profile on something liek the fictional equivalent of Myspace, Friendverse, and when she goes to the Galapagos for spring break, she comes back to find weird comments from the people in her top 8, all her friends. Then, she takes a look at her profile: a picture of her looking SO drunk, creepy people replacing her friends on her top 8, and stupid errors and, say, song choices, as well as saying she wants to break up with her new boyfriend, Justin! She's shocked, and it's ruined her whole reputation. She can't walk down a hallway without being looked at like everyone was just talking about what she allegedly did. Who could have done this to Madison? Kristen, the popular girl? Her evil little brother, who had been spending a lot of time and money on the ancient computer on the cruise? or someone even closer to her than she thinks...?
Then she meets Nate, whose family was on the cruise with them. They go out to get dessert and somehow end up eating gelato on a kind-of date. At first, i really liked Nate, he seemed all cool, and he had this one quote from the movie Clue, where when Madison said, "So, too make a long story short-" He was all, "Too late," and got all embarrassed, and I thought he was so cool. I've been thinking about it, and I've seen the movie Clue numerous times. While funny, it's not really all that, um, COOL and enigmatic as we are supposed to think. Plus, I don't like quoting stuff like that in conversation, it's too cliche. Anyways, so they kinda fall for each other.
At first, i really liked this book, but I read it last year when school was starting, and I've changed my mind. Madison is a prep, and the characters are kind of... flat. And there's this whole big thing about how Madison said she doesn't like drama kids and how the hacker posted that and how it was actually true and realizing that drama kids were O.K. people was dumb. But it was good when I was reading it, you might like it, and i got some song recommendations because every chapter starts with a song and quote that goes along with what happens.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen


Title: The Luxe (Book One)
Author: Anna Godbersen
Rating: *****/5

Yay, a good review! Sorry for writing one or two everyday for the whole TWO DAYS I've had this blog- I'm trying to review the books I've read in teen sections, and this is one I've read recently- after this post is published comes two, Rumors, and in a few weeks, the latest, Envy.
The Luxe is a 432 page book, worth reading every word, about 5 high-society teens in Manhattan at the time of 1899: Elizabeth and younger sister/ troublemaker Diana Holland; Elizabeth's maid until the end of the book, Lina Broud; and Henry Schoonmaker, the
local playboy; and Penelope Hayes, a secretly evil girl, who's constant companion is Buck Isacc (I think this is his last name, sorry!), who is secretly in love with Henry. The thing about this book is, you don't know what's going to happen- it's like a soap opera without the corny plot that doesn't make sense and the evil twins and... okay, it's nothing like a soap opera, I just meant you desperately want to find out what happens next. Lina and Elizabeth are both in love with Will, the horse groomer, and the Holland's are running out of money- but Henry Schoonmaker come to solve that problem. Prompted by his father, who will be running for mayor and thinks having his son married to the most adored female in high society, Elizabeth Holland herself, Henry sets off to propose to Elizabeth, who accepts. Everything will be all right, right? Not at all. This isn't a spoiler, because it says so on the cover and in the prologue, which is set on the day of her funeral- she falls into the river on a carriage ride with Penelope Hayes- or so everyone thinks. But what really happened that day?
I thought it would be a bit boring, because of how formal the book is written, but not at all. Constant drama abounds, and it's not like there's any "Overly sophisticated" words. Once you finish this, you'll be dying to get the next- I certainly was, they leave you with an awful cliffhanger! :(

P.S. Sorry the pics of the books are blurry.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Nature Of Jade by Deb Caletti


Title: The Nature Of Jade
Author: Deb Caletti
Rating: **/5

Wow, two bad reviews today- I'm now getting books I read about a month or so ago, ones that really stood out to me- which wasn't always a good thing, proved in this book.
I really only grabbed this book because I saw that it was about a girl with Panic Disorder, I wanted to know what that was and what it did to you. Um, it makes you panic, shocker.
It's about a girl, Jade, obviously, with Panic Disorder. She finds danger and fear in almost anything, but there's one thing besides her patron saint candles that makes her feel safer- watching the elephants at the zoo. She keeps the Zoofinder camera on her computer up all the time, and visits them often, and when she gets braver starts to work there. She had originally came to the zoo with the full intent of becoming the next Darwin or something, and brought a folding chair and painstakingly formatted notebook to the exhibit- but they creeped her out, and she went over and watched the elephants, and fell in love with them.
One day, when she's watching the camera while doing homework, she sees a youngish boy, maybe 19 or 20, carrying a little toddler, showing him the elephants. For whatever reason she's fascinated by him and kind of... well, STALKS him. They meet, become friends, and she falls for him. But they can't be together. He's actually.. (SPOILER ALERT) on the run from his wife, who is the mother of the toddler, Bo. He's living with his grandmother in her city.
The plot is alright, but all of Caletti's books I've ever tried to read just don't make sense. She uses comparisons in stupid places, too frequently, and they make no sense. A favorite of hers, pretty much found every other page, is "tinkling ice cubes." HUH? What does that sound like?
Anyways, I really don't recommend this book, you're wasting your money, but if it's at the library, everyone has their own tastes, maybe I'm just crazy. (But I don't think I am so much, at least on this discision...)



Looks by Madeleine George


Title: Looks
Author: Madeleine George
Rating: ***/5

Looks is a book about new girl Amiee Zorn, an anorexic girl with poetic aspirations, missing her almost-stepdad, and Meghan Ball, a regular student at the same school. Well, she's normal except for the fact that she is ENORMOUS. She is constantly and intensely scorned by J-Bar and his "crew", who we later find out has a past with Meghan (J-Bar, I mean). Aimee joins the school's literature mag, the Photon, and meets Cara Roy, a fellow student and leader of the paper, who befriends Aimee. Aimee goes over to Cara's house one Satuday, and they share poetry. Aimee has written a poem called "Hunger Strike," which Cara thinks is about anorexia, and tells Aimee a secret related to the issue about herself, and asks if she can keep the poem. They both enter a poetry contest and Cara wins, and Aimee sees that it's her own poem, rewritten a little ("It even has her poem's shoes- the last line!" Parts like that are what made e give this book a mediocre rating)! She has no choice but to ask Fat Girl, Meghan, for help getting her poem back. Meghan has been hurt by Cara as well, long ago, and they both team up to write a different poem and replace it with that. But it ends up with Cara being put in serious danger by J-Bar- you'll have to read it to find out what exactly happened. I really liked all the good similes Madeleine G. used. I just wasn't impressed by this book, and half of it was spent talking about how fat Meghan is and how pitiful and loserish. If it happens to be at your library and not on a very low shelf so you odn't have to work to get it, you might try it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot


Title: The Princess Diaries Series
Author: Meg Cabot
Rating: *****/5
I thought I'd start my reviewing with a fiver, and here it is, by the critically acclaimed (at least by me) author, who's books such as this one have either been made into movies, have been optioned, or are in the process of being optioned, Meg Cabot!

Our heroine, Mia Thermopolis, is an average student at Albert Einstein High in New York, along with her best friend, Lilly Moscovitz, whose brother Mia is secretly crazy about (Michael).
At least, she WAS normal. But then, her dad comes to visit. He takes her to tea, and breaks the news to her that- tada!- she's the royal Princess of Genovia! Which she doesn't take well- she hiccups like crazy and runs to the bathroom to write in her journal, which is the format of this book. So she has to come to the hotel they had tea at every weekday, where her grandmother called Grandmere is staying, for "princess lessons." Grandmere is definitely NOT the agreeable, polite and regal woman portrayed in the movie. She actually smokes these insanely strong cigarettes, drinks a ton of these drinks called Sidecars a day, and has tattooed on eyebrows, as well as a bad attitude. But she's hilarious, like the rest of this book. Mia's friend, Lilly, is the daughter of two psychiatrists and is constantly psychoanalyzing her. She has a public access show called "Lilli Tells It Like It Is," which Mia directs. Another thing in Mia's crazy life: her mom's dating her algebra teacher! The authors writes like she actually had this happen to her, and I was always laughing. And it definitely has random twists and turns- a five star if there ever was one!

Complete Series:
Princess Diaries; Princess In the Spotlight; Princess In Love; Princess in Waiting; Princess in Pink; Princess in Training; Party Princess; Princess On the Brink; Princess Mia; Forever Princess. Additional Books (In-Betweens and Extras): Project Princess; Princess Present; Sweet Sixteen Princess; Princess Lessons; Perfect Princess; and Holiday Princess. That should keep you busy for a while. :D

Hello and Welcome!

Hi! This is my new blog for reviewing mainly YA books, but there may be some more kiddish, as well as books belonging in the main adult section of my library. But their classification system is screwed up- really, I think they base it on length (unless it's Pooh Bear Goes To Town or something, then I really hope they know it isn't YA!).... By the way, the books reviewed here are basically American books and titles. Seeing as I'm an American. But I get British books often, online or at bookstores. You never know :)

If you're a publisher or author, I would absolutely, positively looooove to interview you or review your book- just shoot me an email at: rkmjones@insightbb.com.

Feel free to leave comments, I love feedback!

P.S. If you enjoy book review blogs, I have an extensive list of great book sites, who have other links, who have other other links... so by reading this you're pretty much connected to every blog, come to think of it! ( Like the Kevin Bacon theory... Mmm, Kevin Bacon... :)) If you have any recommendations to make my new site better, email me at the said email or leave a comment. Once again, can't get enough of that feedback :D

May your books be long, characters be adorable, and may they be in large supply :)
-Meggin

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