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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Far World: Water Keep By J. Scott Savage

All his life, Marcus has been an orphan and an outcast because of his unexplained injuries which leave him confined to a wheelchair. Not to mention the weird symbol on Marcus’ arm. What does it symbolize? Why is it there? Despite these injuries and the inexplicable mark, Marcus has been able to fend for himself, and even seems to possess some kind of unexplained gift. For some reason, Marcus is able to slip by, undetected, if he concentrates enough. It’s quite handy when he’s trying to escape bullies, but how long can his deception hold up?

When things get really bad, Marcus likes to escape to a place he’s created—Far World. Things are much more peaceful there and more welcoming, until one day when a man whom had disturbed Marcus’ Far World with his sinister aura and piercing eyes shows up on Earth at the school Marcus is attending, and tells Marcus that he is there to take Marcus back to his parents. Torn between the wish to find his parents and the dark feeling that the man could be evil, Marcus is hardly given a choice as he is shoved along by the principle who is all to happy to get rid of Marcus.

In Earth’s sister world, a girl also lives with an ailment that makes her an outcast in her world. Kyja lives in a world where everyone can do magic—everyone but her. Oh sure, it’s handy sometimes when nasty spells and potions don’t work on her, but she’s longed to do magic since the others think she has some kind of disease that prevents her from performing magic. And it doesn’t help that, like Marcus, she is an orphan. She is under the tutelage of Master Therapass who believes that she must have some ounce of magic in her. But try as they might, she has yet to produce magic.

Marcus tires to evade the eerie man who claims he will take him to Marcus’ parents, but his little trick does not work and the man takes him captive. Deprived of his wheelchair, Marcus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the man laughs in triumph, telling Marcus that he has found him at last and will finally destroy him. And with that, the man begins to morph into a snake-like creature, completely bent on destroying Marcus.

Somehow, Marcus is saved by Kyja, who pulls him into Far World. Marcus is astounded that Far World exists, and quickly connects to Kyja, who is like him in many ways. However, they do not have time to dwell on the joy of new found friendship since Master Therapass tells them they must flee the city for the Dark Circle who wish to overtake Far World wants to find and get rid of the two of them.

The pair flee and meet up with the wizard again, and the trio tries to figure out the how Kyja got Marcus to Far World as well as how they can stop the Dark Circle. Marcus and Kyja learn that they are connected several astounding ways, and they could be the ones destined to save Far World. But can two teenagers really save the fate of a whole world? Will the dark forces prove to be too much for them? They learn that an elusive group of elementals, the Fontasians, may hold some answers and could provide some invaluable help—if they can even find this hidden group and persuade them to aid them. Kyja and Marcus are well aware that this will be only a small step in their quest, and many hardships are to come, but they are determined to help Far World. But the question is, strong determination or not, will these two be able to do enough to stop such determined and powerful foes?

Join Marcus, Kyja, and Riph Raph (Kyja’s rather annoying talking skyte) on an adventure that’ll keep you hooked from beginning to end as they set out on an arduous journey in an attempt to find more information about their heritage and save Earth’s sister world from falling to the Dark Circle!
I found Far World: Water Keep to be an extremely exciting and enjoyable read! I loved the characters and their bravery and cleverness! All readers looking for an excellent start to a promising adventure should definitely read this book when it hits bookstores in September! I’m glad I got the chance to read Far World and eagerly anticipate its sequels!

P.S. Don’t you just love the cover? I know I do!
Oh and keep your eyes out for a giveaway for a signed ARC of Farworld & an interview with the author, J. Scott Savage very soon!

9.800 (out of 10)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

La Petite Four by Regina Scott

Lady Emily, Priscilla, Ariadne, and Daphne are the closest of friends, and refer to themselves as "La Petite Four." They’ve done everything together, including going through Barnsley School for Young Ladies and planning their coming out ball together. They’ve been planning, perfecting, and looking forward to this grand ball for sometime, and want their coming out to be an event to remember.

However, the happiness of these girls is threatened when Lord Robert wishes to marry Lady Emily right after she graduates from Barnsley. Why does he wish to marry so quickly? And why does he wish to wed Emily? He has not seen her for years and does not even know her anymore! Something fishy is going on… Not to mention their Season/debut into society will be ruined if Emily is married off right away! She must find out what Lord Robert is up to and she simply must go to the ball! She cannot have her life ruined and her dreams of studying at the Royal Society for the Beaux Arts dashed by having the marry Lord Robert! Oh why, oh why does her father favor this match as well? How can he not see that Lord Robert is up to no good?

Unfortunately, La Petite Four’s investigation of the shadowy Lord Robert might just have them picking up their skirts and running all over town, even into the dirtier areas, to figure out what he’s up to. Speaking of what people are up to, why does another handsome but mysterious figure keep popping up all over town as well? La Petite Four have run into James Cropper too many times for it to be a coincidence all over town as they’ve trailed Lord Robert.

When these four girls find out that Lord Robert may be up to something even more sinister than they had previously thought, they have to expose him before he marries Emily! Who are they to trust? Can these four girls get to the bottom of Lord Robert’s meddling, save Emily from marry the man, and save the ball as well? And just who is this mysterious Mr. Cropper? This Season may just turn out to be an extremely memorable one…just not in the way they had hoped!

La Petite Four is a highly enjoyable book! I loved the mystery and romance in this novel! I was hooked from the first page to the last, and the best part was, this book was not overly obvious, so I was right there with Emily and her friends as they tried to solve the mystery surrounding Lord Robert! A wonderful book with a simple, but sweet cover! A great historical fiction novel that even those who aren’t fans of historical fiction will surely enjoy! I look forward to reading more from author Regina Scott!

9.920 (out of 10)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Elite Contest Winners!

A Big thanks to everyone who entered & to the wonderful Jennifer Banash for donating 2 copies of The Elite for this giveaway!
Sorry for the delay in announcing the winners--I had a final today & a graduation to attend.

For this giveaway, to continue the "throw your name in the hat" idea, I decided to use the tiger hat my sister got from a safari-themed party a few years ago:

Thanks for sharing your dream cities & favorite designers (if you had one!). Personally, I'd love to visit London again, as well as some other cities (Sydney, perhaps?)!

And now, I present the 2 winners who were chosen at random:

Nadine-Stella and Sara Lindhult


Please email me (bookvault @ with your Name & Mailing address so I can pass them on to Jennifer! Please get them to me by 6/28 or I'll have to pick new winners! Thanks for entering!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher by David Ellwand

Do you believe in faeries? Do you believe in pixies or little beings that most deem only alive in fairytales? Join David Ellwand, a photographer, on his journey through the eerie English Downs where he encounters a pix stone (a.k.a. hagstone, among other names) and an old, forgotten archaeological dig site. Through the pix stone, David gets a glimpse of the hidden world of pixies, at a site where, a century ago, men were digging for an old flint stone, but another photographer found something else.

David happens upon a chest that takes him on a journey of a life time. Within the ancient box is the account and evidence gathered by a photographer 100 years ago, Isaac Wilde, that pixies do exist. He was ridiculed for this belief, but as he got to learn more about these elusive creatures that he could only see through pix stones, and other seeing glasses, he knew he had to somehow get others to believe him and preserve the little folks’ home.

But what happened to this Isaac Wilde? Can David decipher his journey and learn more about the site, or will his journey prove to be in vain and have its own abrupt, dark ending like that of Isaac’s story? Discover the secrets that the English Downs has with David Ellwand through the accounts, photographs, and other artifacts in The Mystery of the Fool and the Vanisher!

Book Recommendation & Contest!

Gaby Trinana's The Temptress Four has hit book stores--have you read it yet? It's on my TBR list and I've heard plenty of good things about this novel!

Summary courtesy of Amazon:
Four best friends, one graduation cruise, a week of partying.
Eight days of strife and storms . . .
It's supposed to be the best eight
days of their lives.
Bonds will be broken...
But when a fortune-teller
predicts trouble the night before their trip,
One of you will not come
Fiona, Killian, Alma, and Yoli are left on edge, wondering what it
could all mean.
Gaby Triana gets right to the heart of that thrilling,
nerve-wracking, exhilarating, terrifying, amazing time that comes right after
graduation, when the big question is: Where do we go from here?

Sounds great, doesn't it?? What are you waiting for? Go grab a copy of The Temptress Four!


Congrats to the Book Muncher on he 100th post! She's hosting a giveaway for 3 great books in honor of her 100th post!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kandide and the Secret of the Mists By Diana S. Zimmerman

Meet Kandide, the faery princess who is heir to the throne of Calabiyau—and also a completely self-centered, vain girl. She’d really rather be admiring her reflection and perfecting her looks in front of a mirror than anything else—except for a quick game or archery practice. Her sister, Tara, is the complete opposite—a bit boyish but an exceptional healer, she is caring and patient, unlike her selfish older sister. Their younger brother, Teren, is a mischievous faery aspiring to be a magi, or one who wields magic.

Her father is one of the most beloved kings of Calabiyau, with a council to help him make decisions. He was the one to unite the different faery clans of Calabiyau and each clan has a seat on his council. But now he has fallen ill, and he must pass on the Gift to Kandide so she can bring the Frost and preserve nature’s cycle of birth and rebirth, as well as rule the people of Calabiyau well.

But for one who was spoiled and is utterly self-centered, can Kandide rule her future people well? Or will she be too caught up in herself? Not one to listen to advice, Kandide decides to go to the meadows instead of performing her coronation and queenly duties to go have fun and pick pomegranates with her sister. Ignoring her sister’s advice to return home since the weather is taking a turn for the worse, Kandide ends up crushed under a tree branch struck by lightning, barely clinging onto life. Her sister rushes her home, but the healers cannot manage to heal her damaged wing completely, even though the save her life.

Heartbroken and enraged, Kandide feels less than perfect and vows to hide her imperfection, since crumplewinged and other imperfect faeries are cast out in her society. But when she is accidentally exposed, the council is shocked and her mother sends her away, and lets Tara be crowned queen.

Lost and afraid, Kandide wanders around in a dark forest as Tara is a rather unhappy and unprepared queen back in Calabiyau. But Kandide happens upon a place beyond the mysterious Mists her father was rumored to have created, and meets new people that dispel her old prejudices. Her life changes forever as she goes on a journey to learn acceptance of others, to learn to be more selfless, and to learn that outer beauty is far from everything, and that physical perfection does not guarantee inner perfection.

Can Kandide learn how to accept her own ‘imperfections’ as well other’s? Or will she revert to the same selfish old Kandide before her accident? Can she solve the trouble and treachery brewing at home? Or will her own reflection hold more of her attention? Can she fulfill her father’s last instructions to unite her country and bring peace and understanding, or will she let it fall to the overly ambitious and sinister individuals?

Diana Zimmerman wove an enchanting tale that especially younger audiences will enjoy! The message that inner beauty is what truly matters rings true in this novel that will have young readers wanting to read more of Kandide’s adventures!

9.450 (out of 10)

P.S. Thanks for the feedback on my new rating system. I actually just finished watching the ladies' & men's US Olympics trials for gymnastics today and I think I'm going to continue this rating system a litle longer & see how it goes. Concerning gymnastics itself, I kind of still like the old rating system, even though the new one (out of 17, now) does make sense with the level of difficulty/starting value and the execution scores added together. Anyone watching the track trials that are coming up?? I'm not sure what other US Olympics trials are coming up, but I'll try to keep up with the actual Olympics when the come! I'm sure the Olympic Games will be very exciting :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Was a Teenage Popsicle by Bev Katz Rosenbaum

Imagine being vitrified for ten years, then coming back. What would the world be like? Would everyone you knew be there too?

Floe was one of the many teens affected by the incurable lympaticotosis. Or at least, incurable until now, ten years later. But no one knew how long it would take to find the cure, so Floe’s parents decided to have her vitrified, or frozen, until a cure could be found and she could be brought back. Unlike most of the teenage population affected by lympaticotosis, Floe was one of the only ones who was vitrified. So ten years later, a cure has been found and administered to Floe, so she can be thawed out and sent out on her merry way—easier said than done.

Ten years later, things have changed. Inline skates? What, those old things? It’s all about hoverblades now! Jeans and a snug fit t-shirt? Vintage! Welcome to Star-Trek-like unitards era now! Things have changed, and what’s weirdest is that her formerly younger sister, Sunny, is not the younger sibling any more. Floe’s parents were also vitified for other reasons, but Sunny never was, so she has grown up like normal, but is older than Floe now! So Floe has to move into Sunny’s house, along with her unemployed husband and child, Jake, where she will attend Cactus Hill Secondary School with Sunny as her legal guardian. Can it get any more awkward? Floe doesn’t even get to attend the school she grew up at—Venice Beach Alternative! Speaking of Venice Beach, are her friends all grown up now?!

Life is proving much more difficult that Floe had imagined—there’s so much to get used to, and her classmates are starting to think she’s a freak because she’s not up to date on the new technology and still likes things of the past. There is one perk, however, Taz, the boy Floe had a huge crush on back when they were still in Venice Beach was vitrified also! The two take their first steps back into the living world together, but the doctor warns Floe not to lean on him, since it won’t last—Taz’ll be going back to Venice Beach, and Floe to Cactus Hill. But how can she not lean on Taz? He’s the guy she was crushing on before she was vitrified, and he’s still as hot as ever!

Hot guys aside, Floe’s life is made even more difficult when she learns that a couple is suing her vitrification doctor’s clinic, because they do not believe that vitrification works, and believes that it was a scam that cost their mother/mother-in-law a lot of money and her life. Little do they know, their mother/mother-in-law is actually sitting in a vat of chemicals, still vitrified and awaiting a cure to her own disease. But the doctor had asked Taz and Floe not to tell anyone about their vitrification, since the doctor does not wish to go public yet—but if they aren’t going public, how on earth will Floe get her parents back? They’re still waiting to be thawed out, and if the lawsuit is successful for the couple, then Floe may never get her parents back? What’s a girl who’s still trying to get used to of a new age supposed to do? She’s not close to her sister (awkward!) nor does she many new friends because of her out-of-date weirdness!

I Was A Teenage Popsicle was a sweet, (sorry, bad pun!) quick read! A fresh twist spin on the whole "chronically preserved" topic! Floe and her companions were fresh, quick-thinking, and a great bunch. Being frozen and thawed out ten years later and trying to get used to it is no easy task—especially for teenagers, who can have so many trends and fads! Floe’s coming-of-age adventure of trying to fit into the new society, come to terms with what happens, find a way to save the clinic, and possibly find first love was a great read! I Was A Teenage Popsicle may have tied up its loose ends a little too neatly, but it would definitely make for a cool summer read!

9.700 (out of 10)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

All across America, dead teenagers...aren't staying dead. They come back as "differently biotic" or "living impaired) (to be politically correct) beings, who are pale, less mobile, and less coordinated so they are taunted because of these traits, by the normally biotic people. This phenonoma only occurs in America, perhaps because of all the immunization and vaccinations that American teenagers have gotten when they were younger. These kids that come back for a second chance at life are hated and since there are no laws protecting these differently biotic, the more zealous of the angry lot have taken violet action against the differently biotic teens, often maiming or killing them, and when a differently biotic dies a second time, that's it, they're dead for good.

Phoebe, a goth girl, has her share of friends, but is definitely not one of the popular kids at school. She does not hate or love the living impared students that start attending her school but she and her friend Margi are haunted by guilt over one of the girls who have come back as a living impared. Most of Phoebe's classmates are less than happy when the living impared start attending their high school, and when one living impared teen joins the football team, the school is in an uproar.

Only Adam and a few others on the football team are more open to the idea of having a differently biotic teammate. The others, with the coach's support, try repeatedly to take out the differently biotic player--Tommy Williams. Much to Phoebe's surprise, she is growing closer to Tommy, and finds herself crushing on him. Those who learn of her crush are not pleased at all--no living person has ever been with a living impared person before. But as the crush becomes more and starts to entangle Phoebe in complex webs of hate and violence, Phoebe finds herself having to take a side. Can she somehow help these differently biotic teens be more accepted in society and help protect them? Or will she also fall prey to "zombie"-haters and their violence? Can she and Margi confront their past and their guilt to start anew with the girl that has become a living impared?

Phoebe joins the Differently Biotic Work Study Program in an attempt to help out, but doing so has earned her even more animosity from the zombie-haters, and her increasing interaction with the so-called 'zombies' is not increasing her social status either. But when Adam realizes that he loves Phoebe and tries to protect her and her new DB friends, more and more people are dragged into the deadly webs of hate and confusion, and the uneasy peace cannot last for long...

Where does Phoebe's heart lie? Where does Tommy's heart lie? Can the imminent confrontation be somehow stopped? Can rights for DB kids be won? Can Phoebe make a difference in this ever-changing society?

Generation Dead was an undoubtedly innovative story with some amazing characters! However, at some points it felt a bit slow and seemed to drag on before the pace picked up again. Generation Dead was an interesting read overall and really gives you some food for thought. Our society is rarely accepting of big changes and yes, there are some overly zealous people even today that think violence is the answer. This novel gave an interesting (& rather acurate, in my opinion) view on society today, and I really cannot imagine what it would be like if dead teens across America did come back to life, but I would hope that there would not be widespread violence and hatred.

9.350 (out of 10)

Monday, June 16, 2008

To rate or not to rate

I'd like to thank everyone who took the time out to give me your opinion on whether or not I should have a rating system. After some thinking, I've decided to rate the next three books I review and I'll do it via the old gymnastics "perfect 10" system. Why? You may ask, well I named my blog the "Book Vault," and while I was thinking of a giant vault filled with books, I also realized that the vault is one of the appartuses for gymnastics. Not all too long ago, gymnasts were given scores out of 10 for the difficulty & execution of their routine on each apparatus and of course prefect 10's were few and far between but there were some really amazing gymnasts & routines that got those perfect 10's.
So I'll rate the next 3 books I review and see how things go from there--please give me your feedback!

Derby Girl by Shauna Cross

Bliss Cavender is no pagent queen, nor does she want to be. So what does she do when her mother insists that she competes in more and more pagents? Runs off and joins the roller derby of course!

Derby Girl is a coming-of-age story full of derby fun, adventure, finding oneself, and romance! Read my full review over at the Page Flipper!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

And the winner is...

A big thank you to everyone who entered my first giveaway!

I think I may have been a little bit too literal when I said you could throw your name in the hat for my giveaways...but since I saw this cowboy hat on the top of the shelf, I thought why not?

So without futher ado, I present the two winners:

BooksandLove and Reader Rabbit the Second!

Congratulations! All you have to do is drop me an email: bookvault[at] with your name and address and I'll have Candlewick mail you your copy of The Swan Kingdom! Please send me your address by 6/17 or I'll have to pick new winners

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Violet on the Runway by Melissa Walker

All her life, Violet Greenfield has been known as the "Jolly Green Giant" because of her striking height. Luckily, Violet has her good friends Julie and Roger who don’t care that Violet towers over them. But Violet has always wanted to be liked and harbors a secret desire to be part of the most popular clique in the school: the Bee’s Knees. However, it doesn’t look like things will change for now, and Violet will have to settle for hanging out with her good friends and working her boring job at the local movie theater.

On one, seemingly ordinary day that included Violet working her theater shift in her hideous uniform, a lady in Channel shades walked in…and changed Violet’s life. The lady in designer shades, Angela, pronounced Violet gorgeous and stunning, and praised Violet’s height—something that Violet definitely hasn’t heard before! Her height is a good thing?! Angela certainly believes so, and tells Violet that there are some castings for models coming up and that she and Tryst models would love to fly Violet over for them because Violet could very well be the next Big thing. Who knew Violet’s dull job at the movie theater would bring her some good luck?

Before you can say "runway" Violet is over in NYC with her mother being chauffeured everywhere, pampered and outfitted for the castings. A day later, Violet hits the castings and gets hired by four designers for their shows! After she convinces her mother that the modeling jobs would be good work experience and a good way for her to help pay for college tuition, Violet hits the runway and steals the show every time with her 100 watt smile! She’s soon asked to walk the runway with the designers at the end of each show she’s in—an honor normally given to the more experienced models. Violet is thrilled, but former top model, Veronica, is not quite as happy, since Violet has stolen the limelight from her.

It’s not long until Violet is booked for even more shows and begins to spend more and more time in NYC. She even gets noticed and invited into the circle of the Bee’s Knees! Violet’s life is getting better by the second—so why aren’t her friends supporting her? Are they jealous of Violet’s new designer clothes? Why can’t they be happy for her for once? After all, this is the first stroke of good luck Violet’s had! But her old friends are not the only problem—Violet’s being exposed to the darker side of the modeling business. A model’s life is not always as glamorous as it’s made out to be; most girls have eating disorders, some are even on drugs, they party the night away by getting completely wasted, and true friends are far and few between, since backstabbing runs rampant among the models. Is this really the life Violet wants? Is the money and fame worth this? Is this modeling business ruining Violet and changing her morals?

I really enjoyed Violet on the Runway and Violet’s frank honesty and realistic qualities. She’s easy to relate to, after all, we’ve all felt left out at one point or another in our lives and glamour has undoubtedly caught many of our eyes at least once. When you’re out in an environment filled with betrayals and dangerous addictions, you have to watch your step and stay in reality, or you may lose yourself completely in the dangers and never recover.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Ruby has been fending for herself ever since her now-estranged sister left for college; her mother has done little to help Ruby. Ruby goes to school, feeds herself, and pretty much keeps to herself most of the time. She has only a few friends at school, and has become a loner because of the many times she has moved around with her mother.

One day, Ruby wakes up and her mother is just...gone. Thinking that this will be like all the other times and her mother will be back later, probably hung over and exhausted, Ruby does not think much of it until her mother does not come back to the house for weeks. Being a senior in high school who's almost 18, Ruby tries to ride out the last few months until she does turn 18 and can legally live on her own--after all, she's been looking after herself for quite some time now. Taking evasive measures and dodging the landlords and other people who come knocking, Ruby manages to keep her mother's disaperance a secret and keep her mother's job of delivering lost luggage back to their owners, for a while until the fateful day when the landlords found out just how horrible her living conditions were: the dryer had died, the outside needed some mending (which was why they came in the first place), and the house was just filthy. After learning that Ruby's mother had fled, the landlords reported Ruby's situation to the police and child care services, and Ruby was wisked off to live with her sister.

Needless to say, not having seen her older sister for several years, it was quite awkward for Ruby. Since the last time the sisters had seen each other, Cora has become a sucessful lawyer and married a loving guy, and was not living in run down homes or appartments like she had with Ruby when they were younger, but rather, in a spacious house in a good neighborhood. Ruby gets to know her surroundings, and eventually even becomes aquainted with Nate, her sister's neighbor, who seems like a nice kid and always offers her a ride to and from school.

Even though Ruby can now live comfortably and not have to flee landlords every couple of months as she had with her mother, Ruby cannot help but slip into her "bad girl" and loner habbits that she had aquired from her friends from her previous school before moving in with Cora and enrolling in Perkins Day. Before long, she is sneaking back to her old school to drink and smoke pot with her old buddies. But when her perception that her old friends are the good ones is shattered by several shell-shocking events, Ruby is reforced to think her life. Sure, she was not planning to stay long in this overly-perfect neighborhood in such an awkward situation, but isn't it better than what she had to endure before? Are her new friends, like Nate, and her sister and her husband the ones she should be trusting now? After all, they're the ones who have been looking out for her like now one else had ever done for her before. Can Ruby get her life back into shape? Can she overcome past rifts and learn that there are good things in life that she could find if she would just open her eyes a bit more?

Lock and Key was a moving story in which Ruby learned that opening her ears and her heart could help induce great changes. Ruby comes out of her shell and grows to develop new morals and starts counting her blessings, realizing just how much better off she is and that change is not always bad.
I loved Lock and Key and it is definitely one of my favorite books by Sarah Dessen now! Her characters are amazingly well developed and distinct as usual and her story is just so honest and realistic that is draws you in, pulls a few heartstrings, and keeps you hooked until the very last page! A must read for all Sarah Dessen fans!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Being an ordinary teenager living in California, Audrey would've never guessed that breaking up with her boyfriend would make her famous! But that ex-boyfriend happens to be an egotistical musician, and so, you guessed it! He wrote a song about their breakup. And surprisingly, the song, "Audrey, Wait!" has caught the interest of some minor record labels, and before anyone knows it, it's climbing the charts and is being played everywhere! Good bye, normal life! Now a piece of Audrey's love life is being made known to everyone and the tabloids are starting to follow the subject of this song, Audrey, around!

Audrey just wants a normal life, but that’s completely out of the questions when bands, fans, reporters, and crazy managers are plaguing her house with calls, killing her e-mail, and sending more text-messages than you can shake a stick at! While Audrey is trying to evade the limelight, her best friend, Victoria, wants Audrey to play up the fame and get free lip gloss, concert tickets, and more publicity! But how can she concentrate on free lip gloss when her love life is out for everyone to hear, people are selling out random information about her to the tabloids, and the press portray her as the ‘bad girl friend’ and are publishing lies? She’s just trying to hold her job at the Scooper Dooper ice cream store at the mall, listen to music, and hang out with her friends! But speaking of her love life…there has been some pretty interesting twists lately…her co-worker at the Scooper Dooper is kinda hot, but so is the lead singer of the Lolitas…ack! What would the media do about this new development in her love life (seemingly the top interest of all teens right now!) if they heard??

There was just one predictable, slightly cliché part: of course pressure gets to Audrey and she really does try to do the right thing, but relations between her and her best friend are strained, and they argue. That, in turn, causes further discord and Audrey eventually discovers herself and spills the truth and kicks butt in front of a (very) large audience. Just a bit predictable for me in the later part of the book, but definitely a unique and fun read overall!! Audrey sees how ugly the other side of fame is and is often forced to do damage control for her parents! It's not too hard to connect to some of the characters in the story; Audrey attends your typical school with a popular crowd and students that buzz about with the latest rumors.
Audrey, Wait! had a fast pace that doesn’t let the book drag on, and personally, I loved the lyric snippets from different songs that started out each chapter (little foreshadowing)—fantastic idea! Audrey herself is quite a spunky character and I loved her fat cat! Great, dynamic characters, mixed with some creativity, humor and pop culture, and I would say Audrey, Wait! is a pretty good read. I definitely recommend it for all you looking for a light-hearted summer read, so long as you’re not someone who’s easily offended by plenty of cussing since this book does drop the F-bomb quite a few times.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Market by J.M. Steele

How far would you go to be popular? Is popularity really all that great?

Katie Winthrop was on the verge of depression after she was introduced to The Market by a mysterious stranger through IM one night. She learns that The Market is an online bidding site someone at her school set up where all the girls in the senior class are ranked. Katie finds that out of the 140 girls in her senior class, she is ranked a measely #71. 71?! That's less than average--she's in the lower half of the class! Surely she must not be that bad! Okay, so she isn't exactly the queen of fashion at her school, but her taste in clothes isn't horrendous! And she is a slightly shy, but nice girl that holds a part time job at the local bookstore--so she can't possibly be so low on the food chain, right? Greatly upset to be considered a "junk bond" on The Market, Katie runs to one of her closest friends, Dev, and confesses everything to her. Lending a sympathetic ear, Dev listens to Katie's tearful account and quickly hatches a plot to use the situation to their advantage--they're going to beat the system!

Dev explains to Katie that all the share holders had to pay $500 real cash to join the Market and get Market money to bid on different stocks, or senior girls. At the end of the year, the bidder/player with the highest folder gets all the money, and with that money being several thousand, Dev devises a plan to help Katie beat the system so they can win and split the prize money. So Dev fronts the $500 and they buy a folder and call up their friend Callie (who does have a good eye for fashion) to help Katie with her makeover. Dev is hoping that if Katie can improve her looks, befriend the "Proud Crowd" (the most popular ring of girls at school), and make her mark, Katie's stock price will go up, as well as their folder's worth.

And thus, Katie is dragged around for said makeover--they hit the clothing stores for some trendier threads. Not too long after, the made-over "Kat" hits the school runway, turning heads with her new found fashion sense and confidence! The two hottest boys in her class, Will and Jack are starting to notice her, and even talk to her! As time progresses, with help from Dev's plots, Kat steadily climbs the social ladder, nearing "blue chip status." Even Gretchen Tanner, the head girl of the Proud Crowd has noticed her and invited to to hang out. As these hang outs, parties, and other events becoming more common, Kat starts to stray from her original friends and values.

But how long will this new found popularity last? As they say, the higher you are, the harder you fall. Has Kat gone too far to achive "blue chip status?" Gone is Katie, the sweet girl who cared about her friends, in her place is Kat, a girl who wants to be #1 on The Market, and will stop at almost nothing to do so. Is Kat really trying to beat the system anymore, or has she become a power-hungry girl that wants nothing more than ultimate popularity? She has all but left her friends, got caught up in a harsh love triangle, and has trampled on many people, not caring if their feelings are hurt or not, in an attempt to keep up with Gretchen and her Proud Crowd. Is popularity really worth losing her friends, her dignity, and ultimately, herself? Kat learns that behind the illusion of endless friends and getting everything you want, popularity has an uglier, back-stabbing side that could leave you friendless and emotionally hurt.

The Market was a fantastic read that will capture you with its honesty and creativity. Many readers can relate to Katie and her quest for popularity, since most teens want to be accepted and have wanted to be popular one time or another at school. But Katie ultimately sees the truth in things and that looks can be decieving, so don't lose those who understand you and who have stuck by you from the start!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Opinions Needed...

Hey guys!

I know a lot of sites out there have rating systems for the books that have been reviewed. Plenty of them are creative, but I've been a bit hesitant on adding a rating system to my own site. While rating systems can be helpful to determine if the book really is worth reading, there are so many factors that actually go into the rating, and I've felt that a mere half star or whatnot does not always do the trick. I mean, I could absolutely love a book, but another person may not like it as much, say, because it's from a historical era they do not particularly take interest in...

Do a certain # of stars really express enough? What if a book is really creative, but the characters not very well developed?

Should I be gudgmental & give a rating for a book in the first place?

What do you guys think? Should I add a rating system or not?? Comment to this post w/ your opinion and explain it, and I'll give you an extra entry into either the Elite contest or the Swan Kingdom contest (just let me know which)! Thanks!

[EDIT] Thanks for everyone's opinions so far! I'll appreciate further opinions, but if you'd like an extra entry into either contest, please comment by tomorrow at midnight, because after that, no extra entries through this will be given--sorry! [/EDIT]

The Elite Release & Giveaway!!

Sorry for the lack of updates—my computer actually crashed :( It was pretty crushing since I had quite a few files that had not been backed up on the hard drive, not to mention a few reviews that I had been working on and was about to post. So my updates may be a bit spotty for a bit until I can get my computer fixed!

But onto bigger and better things! A huge congratulations to the wonderful Jennifer Banash for the release of her new YA novel, The Elite! And for those of you who do not know what this fabulous book is about, go here for my review! And don’t forget to check out my interview with the talented and hilarious Ms. Banash here!

To celebrate the release of The Elite, Ms. Banash has most generously donated 2 copies of her book for a giveaway!
All you have to do to put your name in the hat for a chance to win is leave a comment with the usual:
- your name
- your e-mail
- and answer these 2 questions:
1. Which city would you most like to live in??
2. Who is your favorite designer?

(So some of you are probably wondering, what's with the random questions? Well, the queen bee and her posse in The Elite are fashion experts living in the city that never sleeps, NYC--so I'm curious, which city would you like to live in, given the chance? & Anyone have a favorite designer??)

For those of you who left a comment for my interview with Ms. Banash, you get an extra entry for this contest, if you wish to enter. Those people are:
- BooksandLove
- Chelsie
Thanks for commenting, guys! Everyone else is welcome to still comment on the interview, but sorry, only those 4 people are eligible for an extra ‘interview comment’ entry.

But if you’d like to post about this contest on your blog, myspace, etc, just send me the link and I’ll give you 2 extra entries!

Please enter by June 24th (midnight, EST)—winners will be announced June 25th.
Sorry, this contest is only open to those living in the US and Canada.

And don’t forget the Swan Kingdom giveaway is still going on as well!

Author Meme

Rules: Link to the person that tagged you, post the rules somewhere in your meme, answer the questions, tag six people in your post, let the tagees know they’ve been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog, let the tagger know your entry is posted.

I was tagged by Reader Rabbit for this meme!

1. Who’s your all-time favorite author, and why?
hmm, this is a tough question! I'd have to say JK Rowling though. A completely ingenious

2. Who was your first favorite author, and why? Do you still consider him or her among your favorites?
How far back am I supposed to go? lol Back when I was really young I absolutely loved Mercer Mayer's books, more specifically his Little Critter series. I loved them so much my mom bought me the entire original series! (I used to love finding the little mouse who would be doing something in the background of a few pages!) He also had some other books that I loved because they had some pretty funny parts and neat illustrations!
Is Mercer Mayer still a favorite? Not really sure, since it was so long ago, but I'd say the original set I read was great, and I'd recommend it to younger kids!
So that's my little childhood confession! lol

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?
Oh geez, so many great authors out there now, I'm not sure! Stephanie Meyer (loved Twilight!), Meg Cabot (but she's been on my fav. author list for a while), Kimberly Pauley (wonderful first novel!! Sucks to be me), Jennifer Banash (a hilarious and just lovely person!), and I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but there are just too many good authors out there to list!!

4. If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth? Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?
JK Rowling, Kate Constable, Erin Hunter, Margert Patterson Haddix, Gail Carson Levine, JRR Tolkien, Meg Cabot, Stephanie Meyer...F. Scott Fitzgerald, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Shakespeare, again, I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but those are some of my favorites!

And the 6 people I am tagging:
1 - Tasha @ And Another Book Read
2 - BooksandLove
3 - Book Adorer
4 - Cyndi @ The Page Wanderer
5 - The Magic of Ink
6 - The Page Flipper

Series I Like

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis Divergent by Veronica Roth Firelight by Sophie Jordon Halo by Alexandra Adornetto Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Thanks to i'm loving books!


I receive review copies of books from publicists, authors and publishers for an honest review. I do not receive monetary or other compensations for posting reviews.