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May Books

Books Read:

1. Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender.
2. Black Butler Volume 2 by Yobo Toboso.
3. The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper.
4. See What I See by Gloria Whelan.
5. Populazzi by Elise Allen.
6. Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart.
7. I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler.
8. Beige by Cecil Castellucci.
9. Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison.
10. Black Butler Volume 3 by Yono Tabasa.
11. Wherever You Go by Heather Davis.
12. OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy.
13. The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride.
14. Nothing but the Truth by Justina Chen Headley.
15. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.
16. The Sweetness of Salt by Cecilia Galante.
17. Hereafter by Tara Hudson.
18. Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade.
19. The World According to Garp by John Irving.
20. You Don't Know Me by David Klass.
21. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
22. Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook.

Instructions for a Broken Heart: Review

Title: Instructions for a Broken Heart
Author: Kim Culbertson
Release Date: May 2011
Published By: Sourcebooks
Pages: 304
Goodreads Rating: 3.67 stars

Review: Jessa's been looking forward to her drama club's trip to Italy, but it certainly puts a damper on things when she discovers her boyfriend making out with another girl in the costume barn. It only gets worse when she faces the prospect of an entire trip watching her ex and his new girlfriend glued together. But to her surprise, her best friend left behind a package entitled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard", with an un-Jessa-like instruction for each day. As Jessa's heart mends, she begins to learn more about life, love, romance - and even herself.

This book was definitely not what I was expecting. I anticipated a light read where the protagonist would perform each instruction and perhaps meet a new love in beautiful Italy, but INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART was more than fluff. It wasn't just about overcoming painful break-ups, but contemplating who you are and how to maintain your sense of identity even while in a relationship. There was a lot given to think about in here, but I didn't find that it ever became preachy or message-pushing, which pleased me.

Although I liked the message of the book, the characters and the writing weren't always the greatest. Jessa, in particular, was emo and angsty throughout the novel, and it could get grating sometimes. I kept wanting to tell her to pick herself up and heal, instead of wallowing in her misery, and though she improved a little by the end, it was a bit late for my tastes.

The secondary characters were also a little disappointing. Her best friend, Carrissa, didn't exactly seem like perfect friend material because a lot of her instructions were just cruel to her ex or counter-productive, and then something else that I won't reveal because no one likes spoilers. (If you read the book, then you know what I'm talking about.)

INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART was a book that I so wanted to love, but I just couldn't. However, that doesn't mean I didn't like the book, because I did. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and felt that it was a very thoughtful book, even though the writing was a bit lackluster in places and the characters could be difficult to relate to. The plot was well-formed, though, and I look forward to reading more by this author.

I received this book for review. This in no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.

Cover Love (8)

This week's Cover Love is...

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon. Here's what the Goodreads summary says: It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. But the couple is not alone-Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. 

When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia-lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.

I was actually originally attracted to this because of a Goodreads advertisement, but then the cover caught my eye even more. I just love the simplicity of it - the style of the cover itself seems to say so much about the story. The dark profile of the woman couldn't be a more powerful image, along with the elegant title text curling across. 

What do you think?

Guantanamo Boy: Review

Title: Guantanamo Boy
Author: Anna Perera
Release Date: February 2009
Published By: Puffin
Pages: 352
Goodreads Rating: 3.82 stars

Review: Fifteen-year-old Khalid, a Muslim boy from England, has recently started to struggle with his religious identity and the way other people view him, especially since he looks so much older than his age. But assumptions made about him escalate to an all time high when he's abducted during a trip to Pakistan to visit family. He's taken to Guantanamo Bay without charges and once he spends time in that horrific prison, everything changes.

Everyone's heard about Guantanamo Bay and the torture that takes place within it, but it's one thing to hear vague stories about it and quite another to read a book on it. I found GUANTANAMO BOY to be eye-opening to the abundant horrors and instances of mistreatment; it's scary to think of that kind of abuse happening to fellow human beings. That said, I did find that the message about the prison could be rather in-your-face. I'd rather the author shows her beliefs instead of forcing them on me.

I also had a hard time relating to Khalid. Despite the fact that I definitely pitied him for the horrible things he was suffering, as a person, I didn't like him that much. He felt very young and immature, and especially in the beginning before he was brought to the prison, he could irritate me. I feel like this book would have been more powerful if I could feel for the protagonist more.

This novel deals with a topic that's not commonly explored in YA despite its prevalence in the news - torture and terrorism. However, I didn't like how it sometimes came across as too preachy, and Khalid grated on my nerves at times. I know this review has been somewhat negative, and I do want to point out that I've read many positive and glowing reviews for GUANTANAMO BOY. If the summary appeals to you, you should definitely pick it up and give it a try!

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.

Like Mandarin: Review

Title: Like Mandarin
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Release Date: March 2011
Published By: Delacorte Books
Pages: 320 pages
Goodreads Rating: 4.08 stars

Review: Grace is sick of her home town Washokey, her mother's obsession with beauty pageants, and her close-minded classmates. But there's one good thing about the small Wyoming town, and that's beautiful, wild Mandarin Ramey. Grace would do anything to be like her, and that wish starts to come true when the two become friends. However, she soon learns that Mandarin's carefree exterior hides a broken girl, and as much as she admires - or admired - Mandarin, not even their friendship can sustain betrayal.

The first thing that jumped out at me with LIKE MANDARIN was how gorgeous the writing was. It's clear from the very beginning that Kirsten Hubbard is a remarkably talented writer, especially with her descriptions. She transformed the fictionalized Washokey, Wyoming into a real, desolate, and beautiful place. In general, I'm not a major nature-appreciator nor am I particularly interested in the settings of books. However, when I was reading the descriptions in this book, there was nothing more I wanted than to be transported to Washokey.

Of course, the setting wasn't the only brilliant aspect of this novel. Each character was heartbreakingly honest with their own flaws and dynamics that made them feel so true to life. None of the characters were perfect, and none were bad, but instead each was a human being. Grace in particular had several flaws but they contributed to make her the distinctive voice she was.

I've read only glowing reviews for this book, and it's no wonder why. LIKE MANDARIN is a gorgeous book that easily makes its way on my Best of 2011 list. Words can't even describe how gripping, how deep, how real and beautiful and amazing I found this book to be. All I can say is that this is the rare kind of book that I want to read over and over and over again, and I hope that each and every one of you reading this blog post right now will pick it up and fall into its beauty the same way I did.

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

This week I'm waiting on...

The Lost Songs by Caroline B. Cooney. The Goodreads summary says: The day Lutie Painter takes the city bus north instead of the school bus west, cutting class for the first time ever, her aunt and uncle have no idea what she is up to. They cannot prevent her from riding into danger. That same morning, Lutie's pastor, Miss Veola, whispers as always, "This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

A block from Miss Veola and up a hill in Chalk, Train Greene, thin and hungry, burns with anger. He has a decision to make, and he's running out of time. A few miles away, among finer houses, Kelvin Hartley yawns and gets ready for another day at school, where he is a friend to all and makes an effort at nothing.

     And Doria Bell, who recently moved to the South from Connecticut, walks to the bus stop, hoping the high school kids who live nearby will say hello.

     All of these lives intertwine and—in surprising ways—become connected to Lutie's ancestors, who are buried in the cemetery in Chalk. Who would have dreamed that the long-dead Mabel Painter, who passed down the Laundry List songs to her great-great-granddaughter Lutie, had passed along a piece of American history that speaks to so many who feel lost and need hope. Big changes are in store for all, and things will never be the same.

I chose this because, honestly, just look at the gorgeous cover! Plus the summary sounds pretty intriguing.

Writers and Readers

One thing I've been wondering for a while is just how many readers are also writers. I've always loved to read, and I've been writing regularly since I was about eight. This is true for some of my friends, and true to an extent for others (like they enjoy writing but don't do it "seriously").

I think pretty much all writers are readers, because you have to read to get good at writing. Reading gives you a somewhat intuitive sense of how to organize and plot and express yourself, and then you refine those skills by writing. Of course, not all readers are writers in the sense that they like to sit down and write every day, but a lot of the readers I know are at least very good at writing essays for school and the like.

So I have a question for you guys. I'm assuming you're all readers, but are you also writers? Do you write a lot? Or even if you're not a writer per se, are you good at it or above average?

Dreadfully Ever After: Review

Title: Dreadfully Ever After
Author: Steve Hockensmith
Release Date: March 2011
Published By: Quirk Books
Pages: 320
Goodreads Rating: 3.54 stars

Review: Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy finally have everything they ever wanted - each other, and protecting their village from zombies, or as polite company calls them, dreadfuls. However, they've barely been together when Darcy is bitten by a dreadful, which means he is well under his way to becoming a frothing zombie. Elizabeth knows she should behead him as protocol calls for, but when she finds out that an antidote might just exist, she has to grab that chance to cure him - and the chance for a real happy-ever-after.

I found this entire classic mash-up of Pride and Prejudice to be completely delightful, and DREADFULLY EVER AFTER was the perfect ending for the trilogy. Just like the previous books in the series, all the characters stayed true to their literary portraits - they just had the addition of being kick-butt warriors and zombie-slayers. Sometimes the fact that certain characters were so good at fighting didn't mesh too well with their personalities, at least for me, but I was still able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the story.

Of course, with every zombie book comes action, fighting, and gore. I'm all for some fighting scenes, but gore sometimes makes my stomach turn if described vividly enough. There were a couple spots here and there that made me cringe, but for the most part I was able to handle it perfectly well. Along with the action, there was a definite sense of humor running through the plot, and I appreciated that the book didn't take itself too seriously.

I ultimately enjoyed the book. My only complaint was that I just didn't find it as hooking as it could have been. While some parts were quite suspenseful or funny, there were other parts that dragged on and had me counting the pages that were left. DREADFULLY EVER AFTER might not have been the best book for me, but if you want an action-packed zombie book with a literary flair, this is definitely for you!

I received a free copy of this trilogy for review. This is no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.

In My Mailbox (24)


I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler. Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that’s okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. Yet the smiles of her picture-perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn’t hold it together, who will?

OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy. Ellie Taylor loves nothing better than a good argument. So when she gets accepted to the Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts summer camp, she's sure that if she wins the final tournament, it'll be her ticket to a scholarship to the best speech school in the country. Unfortunately, the competition at CSSPA is hot-literally. His name is Devon and, whether she likes it or not, being near him makes her sizzle. Luckily she's confident enough to take on the challenge-until she begins to suspect that the private scholarship's benefactor has negative feelings toward Jews. Will hiding her true identity and heritage be worth a shot at her dream? 


You Don't Know Me by David Klass. John ("My father named me after a toilet!") wrestles with the certainty that no one really knows him — not in his miserable home, and certainly not at school. It's true that no one can guess his hidden thoughts, which are hilarious, razor-sharp observations about lust, love, tubas, algebra, everything. And then there's his home: his father ran off years ago, so he's being raised by his mother, who works long hours, and by her boyfriend, whom John calls "the man who is not and never will be my father." This man is his enemy, an abusive disciplinarian who seems to want to kill John and, in a horrible final confrontation, nearly succeeds.

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook. In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls--and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend. 
But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn’t dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend. 

Girl Wonder: Review

Title: Girl Wonder
Author: Alexa Martin
Release Date: May 2011
Published By: Hyperion Books
Pages: 304 pages
Goodreads Rating: 3.79 stars

Review: Because of her math learning disability, Charlotte is bumped down from the Gifted and Talented program at her new high school senior year, and things seem like they'll only get worse. But that's until she meets fearless, beautiful, brilliant Amanda: Girl Wonder. Charlotte's her new side kick, and that brings her closer to Neal in the elite debate team clique. Yet just as everything appears to be coming together, it all starts falling apart.

I didn't have particularly high expectations for GIRL WONDER, but even if it had, it still would have blown me away. I devoured this entire book in just two sittings, finding myself completely swept up in it. Even as I could see the bad things coming ahead, I was there with Charlotte when she became intoxicated with her new popularity, with her new closeness to Amanda and Neal. She broke out of her goody-good mold and found herself entranced with an entirely new world.

This was such an honest, gritty read, delving straight into the ups and downs of the final year of high school without holding anything back. Charlotte experienced first love and first heartbreak, but the pain wasn't anything new to her, what with her dysfunctional family dynamic. As much sympathy as I felt for her, I did sometimes wish that she wasn't so oblivious and, on occasion, shallow, but she grew so much as a character by the end that I was able to overlook that.

GIRL WONDER was real, sad, and beautiful all at once. It's the story of a girl who begins to learn who she is, who she was, and who she wants to be, and manages to deal with normally-tired themes like popularity and peer pressure without being annoyingly cliché or redundant. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a moving read.

Book Blogger Hop (24) and Follow Friday (13)

This week's Book Blogger Hop question is.... If you could spend one day in a fictional world, which book would it be from and what place would it be? Hogwarts, no contest! I would love to be at that awesome school with Harry, Ron, and Hermione and experience the moving portraits, talking ghosts, and bipolar staircases for myself!

This week's Follow Friday question is... Can you tell us five quirky habits about yourself?

1) I spin pencils all the time while thinking or even if I'm just bored. It gets to the point that I have to swap hands every so often because my fingers grow sore. I've gotten pretty good at it, but I still drop my pencil or pen every now and then, much to annoyance of anyone sitting with me.

2) I'm still waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter. Really, I won't mind being a little older than the other first-years!

3) There's this one watch I wear all the time, except when I'm showering or sleeping. I even have a strip of pale skin in the exact shape of my watch. I feel a little lost without it.

4) I'm obsessed with Werther's Original butterscotch.

5) If I see a grammatical mistake somewhere, I either feel compelled to fix it or I can't look at it.

If you're new to my blog, welcome! Please leave your link in the comment so I can return the favor :)

Putting Makeup on Dead People: Review

Title: Putting Makeup on Dead People
Author: Jen Violi
Release Date: May 2011
Published By: Hyperion Books
Pages: 336
Goodreads Rating: 3.70 stars

Review: Donna has only gone through the motions of living following her father's death, isolated from everyone else. But everything changes when she finds a new life in the most unexpected place - a coffin. She decides she wants to be someone who comforts others in the wake of death, a mortician. With this choice comes a new friend, a boy, and a passion she never knew she had within her. But as she throws herself into her mortuary studies, she begins to learn that moving on and forgetting aren't the same thing.

This book hooked me in right from the start with Donna's distinctive voice. I appreciated how even though she was struggling with things as hard as death and she definitely was experiencing grief, she never became overly mopey or sulky. In fact, she could be funny and there were several laugh-out-loud moments throughout PUTTING MAKEUP ON DEAD PEOPLE. She was quirky and unique, and I found the rest of the characters to be as real and complex as she was.

As you can gather from the book summary, this isn't your typical overcoming-grief or coming-of-age book. I really liked the premise, what with Donna wanting to become a mortician, because it makes this book stand out among many. Despite the unique idea, the execution didn't completely follow through. While I still definitely enjoyed reading this, I did think a few areas of the book (not going to be specific since I want to avoid spoilers) could have been developed more.

All in all, this is the perfect novel for when you want to read something a little quirky or different. It has a unique concept as well as a cast of three-dimensional characters that make it a true pleasure to read. The only complain I have is a lack of development when it comes to certain parts of the book, but other than that, I greatly enjoyed PUTTING MAKEUP ON DEAD PEOPLE and would recommend it to anyone.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This is no way affected my review or opinion of this book.

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

This week's pick is...

The Shattering by Karen Healey. Here's what the Goodreads synopsis has to say: Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn't prepared for her brother's suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna's brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.

As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year's Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.

As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?

In my opinion, there aren't anywhere near as many young adult thrillers and mysteries as there should be, so I definitely want to pick this one up! This book releases September 5th, 2011.

Cliffhanger Endings

It's happened to all of us. You're approaching the end of a book, waiting for everything to resolve itself and have all the loose ends tied up when - bam! Cliffhanger ending. The book finishes, and you have no way to find out what happens next without reading the sequel.

The question is, do you find the cliffhanger a good thing or a bad thing?

Back when I mostly read older releases, I liked cliffhangers. They made me eagerly pick up the next one and tear through that, then read that book's cliffhanger, and move on to the next book, all the way down the series. There was something satisfying about finding out something you're craving to know.

But now, most of the books I read are recent releases, and I can't pick up the next book for, on average, a year. In these cases, a cliffhanger ending frustrates me because the suspense it gives doesn't last for an entire year, but makes me unsatisfied with the resolution given.

What do you think? Cliffhangers or no cliffhangers?

Priscilla the Great: Review

Title: Priscilla the Great
Author: Sybil Nelson
Release Date: April 2011
Published By: Little Prince Publishing
Pages: 309
Goodreads Rating: 4.24 stars

Review: Seventh-grader Priscilla Sumner has to deal with more than just the typical trials of middle school. In addition to pimples and bullies, she needs to use her extraordinary gifts to defeat genetically enhanced assassins who want to kill her and her family, and destroy the evil Selliwood Institute. But that's not all - she must also work out the secrets her entire family has been hiding from her, and what she finds out changes everything.

One of the best aspects of PRISCILLA THE GREAT were the characters. The book had a rich, colorful cast, each person with his or her own perfectly developed personality. My favorite character was Priscilla, because she was such a spunky, kick-butt protagonist that I had a blast reading about her. Her voice was fresh and pulled me right in from the very start, with her hilarious wise-cracks and sarcastic tendencies, but also with how very real and feeling she could be.

Though I found this book to be fun, the plot definitely had a fast pace and there was a lot of action. Behind the witty narration, the story was suspenseful and kept me flipping pages (or rather, clicking through them on my Kindle!) to see what would happen next. Sometimes cliffhanger endings really annoy me, but I felt like it worked well with this book, and I definitely now want to read the next book.

This is an awesome and fun middle grade read that anyone can enjoy! From the richly developed characters to the epic action, PRISCILLA THE GREAT holds your attention from beginning to end. Even without the cliffhanger ending, I would still want to read the next book. These books felt a bit on the young side to me, but I think people of all ages could have fun reading this. I recommend it to anyone who wants a funny yet action-packed read!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This is no way affected my review or opinion of this book.

The Cellar: Review

Title: The Cellar
Author: A. J. Whitten
Release Date: May 2011
Published By: Graphia
Pages: 276
Goodreads Rating: 3.00 stars

Review: Adrien is the new kid in town, but Meredith can tell something is off about him. He moved next door, and at night, she sees and hears things from his house that hint at him being dangerous. Her sister Heather doesn't share these feelings at all and throws herself in a romance with him, and it feels like fate when they're cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet. No matter how hard Meredith tries, she can't convince Heather that Adrien is bad for her... and that he might be a monster.

I found this book to be really hard to get into. The narration jumped around, varying from first-person with Meredith to close third-person with Heather and Adrien, and it sometimes made things hard to follow. The writing didn't really pull me in either, and I just felt detached from the main characters. It was hard for me to care for them even with their back story, which would normally have made me sympathetic towards them.

Writing aside, there were many things that bothered me about THE CELLAR. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but character intentions and reactions didn't match up for me and often felt unrealistic. Meredith's eye disease, for instance, wasn't researched well because it didn't line up with what the reader is told. This bothered me while I was reading and made it even harder for me to relate.

What probably bugged me most of all were the graphic descriptions of the violent acts Adrien does to people. I'm not generally too squeamish when it comes to violence in books, and I'm okay with it if it works for the story. However, the gruesome scenes here just felt utterly unnecessary and honestly didn't do much of anything for the plot. I used to read adult thrillers when I was eleven so really, it takes a lot to make me cringe, but trust me, I was shuddering while reading this book.

This review is pretty negative, but I don't want it to sound like I completely disliked it. THE CELLAR did have suspenseful parts and I felt that these were the best written of the novel. This wasn't the book for me, and I was quite put off by the plot holes and unrelatable characters. I don't want to completely condemn this novel, though, because I have read good reviews of it so some people like it. If the summary sounds appealing to you, by all means, give it a try!

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.

Book Blogger Hop (23) and Follow Friday (12)

This week's Book Blogger Hop question is... Are you going to BEA and/or BBC this year?

Unfortunately, as much as I would love to, I can't go, and I don't think I'd be able to for a while. Somehow I don't see my parents agreeing to this, haha. It sounds like great fun, though, and I hope if you are going, you have a good time!

This week's Follow Friday question is... What is the most emotional scene you have read in a book lately?

I recently received an ARC of Wherever You Go. I don't want to reveal spoilers, but there was definitely a very emotional scene that had me tearing up! I'm a sucker for those kinds of scenes - if you've read the book, you probably know what I'm talking about.

If you're new to my blog, welcome! Please drop your link in the comments so I can return the favor!

Beauty Queens: Review

Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Release Date: May 2011
Published By: Scholastic Press
Pages: 400
Goodreads Rating: 4.02

Review: A plane filled with fifty beauty pageant contestants, each competing for the coveted Miss Teen Dream title, crashes on a remote island. The fifteen surviving girls believe that if they do what they were always taught - keep their heads held high and practice their pageant skills - then before long, they would be discovered and rescued. As they thought, they were discovered - just not by the right people. Struggling to survive, the girls begin to question everything they used to know to be true.

Libba Bray once again proves her mastery of taking an unlikely concept and transforming it into an unforgettable novel in BEAUTY QUEENS. The story is unquestionably a satire dripping with sarcasm as she criticizes the high standards of femininity girls, and these in particular, must hold themselves to in today's society. Although heavy-handed at times, the book is not so much spitting as humorous and touches on other themes as well, such as sexual orientation.

Despite the satiric nature of the plot, the story manages to shine through, especially towards the end of the novel. The girls slowly release themselves from the unrealistic societal expectations and constraints, and as they do so, they become much more developed characters. Some are quick to embrace their new "wild" life while others continue to cling to the Miss Teen Dream way, but all grow as characters through their obstacles. Each has her own section of the novel, with their individual  stories tying neatly together at the end.

With its unique themes of sexuality and female empowerment as well as its brilliant approach to satire, BEAUTY QUEENS stands out among recent young adult releases. The messages occasionally come off as too strong and preachy, but overall, this is a hilarious read that is sure to please fans of Libba Bray.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review. This is no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

This week, I chose Dark Eden by Patrick Carman. The Goodreads summary is pretty sparse, but it says: Dark Eden by Patrick Carman, a multi-platform book featuring phone apps in which seven teens with severe phobias must face their fears. I read a review of it, and it sounds extremely creepy and suspenseful and exciting. I'm easily frightened by scary movies and books, but I love reading psychological thrillers all the same, so this book seems perfect for me! I can't wait until November so I can get my hands on it.

What are you waiting for?

Multicutural Fiction

One thing I would love to see more in YA is multicultural fiction.

By this, I don't mean fiction where authors shove in some non-white minor characters. I want to read about main characters who have a different culture than me, and also about main characters who are Asian like me. I want to read about characters who struggle with their identity or something else related to their culture and race, about characters who have the same kind of problems other teens do.

What do you think about multicultural fiction?

The Karma Club: Review

Title: The Karma Club
Author: Jessica Brody
Release Date: April 2010
Published By: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Pages: 272
Goodreads Rating: 3.77 stars

Review: Maddy is furious and hurt when she catches her boyfriend cheating on her, and even more upset when he not only has no remorse for it, but nothing bad happens to him. She always thought Karma would get back at people who do bad things, and yet he seems perfectly happy with his new girlfriend. That's when Maddy decides to take things into her own hands when she and her friends start the Karma Club to get back at the boys who wronged them. The only problem? Karma's got its own ideas.

This book is exactly what it sounds like - a cute and fun book for anyone looking for the perfect read to relax with. I enjoyed reading about Maddy's wild plans of revenge, not only for her own ex-boyfriend but those of her friends. Some were just so wickedly mischievous that I had no choice but to smile, and it was even more fun to read about them being carried out.

Of course, the characters weren't exactly perfect, especially given the way they were trying to exact revenge. THE KARMA CLUB could be a bit predictable with the overused plot device of the characters who act mean to get back at mean people and then come to an epiphany that they shouldn't act mean because that makes them as bad as the original people, et cetera. I see this so much in books that I find myself getting rather tired of it, and that's the main thing that bothered me about the book.

Other than that, this was a light, fun book that I had a good time reading. The ending was perfect and uplifting, leaving readers on a positive note about karmic balance and "paying it forward". THE KARMA CLUB explores a myriad of great themes that are sure to inspire some thought in addition to enjoyment. Though I found this book to be a tad predictable, it remains a cute read that anyone could enjoy.

In My Mailbox (23)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren.

For Review:

 Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson. I didn't expect to get this in the mail, so I was understandably quite excited when I got it! The guy was rather confused about a package addressed to "My Words Ate Me".

The Atomic Weight of Secrets by Eden Unger Bowditch. I haven't heard too much about this one, but the summary sounds interesting! It's the first in a middle grade series, so I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Schultz. I adore the cover for this one, so I'm pumped to read it! I love the shards of glass and the funky font for the title.

From Library:

Beige by Cecil Castellucci
Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper 
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
See What I See by Gloria Whelan

What did you get in your mailbox?