Thursday, July 30, 2009

...by daphne by Carmen Catalina

Author: Carmen Catalina
Release Date: December 29, 2009
Category: Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Daphne is 14 years old, ending her 8th grade year, and she’s experiencing the horror that comes with being fourteen. Daphne deals with the same issues that most of us who have been through high school have dealt with before. She has pimples; she’s a bit overweight; her parents are divorced; she never sees her father; and her mother is in a funk and is distant when she’s not working

Daphne lives with her mother and her twin brothers in a small house that contains old furniture, is dimly lit, and is quite depressing. All except for her room. Daphne’s room is hers and she has made it her own by covering her walls with about 1,000 pictures of her favorite band, Aquarium. This is the band music is constantly in her CD player, and that causes her to buy any tabloid magazine that mentions them (think of this as the modern Twilight fascination and addiction that many seem to have, or the Backstreet Boys/Nsync obsession that us 90s kids had).

When Daphne’s mother, Helen, takes a job teaching in Europe over the summer, she informs Daphne and her brothers that they will be staying with their father and his wife, Holly, and their baby. Since Daphne’s mother has done nothing but badmouth her father and Holly, she is outraged and unhappy about going. Daphne is fully prepared to go into this whole summer hating the house, hating Holly, hating her father, just the entire situation, and spending the entire summer in her room knitting, listening to Aquarium, and redesigning her own clothing.

Before Daphne even arrives, she is set in a sour mood by all the thoughts swimming in her head, and because she will be stuck with people she doesn’t want to be with. After arriving, she starts finding it hard to hate them though, seeing what they have done for her and how they treat her. She starts having a hard time being loyal to her mother, and she begins to actually like Holly, her father, and even baby Georgie. Holly starts becoming involved in Daphne’s life and she helps Daphne transform herself into the person Daphne, herself, knows she can be.

Daphne also finds out that Holly’s mysterious brother is coming into town to stay with them for the summer, as well. With Holly keeping mum about any information, when he finally shows up, Daphne is flabbergasted and can’t believe her eyes. "But it’s no fairytale. It’s life…by Daphne.”

And her life is definitely something that dreams are made of. Daphne is the kind of girl that is so easy to relate to, even now that I’m nowhere near freshman year of high school anymore. This is a story where the characters have depth and they are more than they appear at first.

I found myself wanting to be able to have some aspects of Daphne’s life, and I can guarantee you will, too! I think this is one of the few YA novels I’ve read as of late, that I can honestly say is for the ages. There’s nothing I saw in this book (aside from literally one or two curse words) that would cause a younger reader to not be able to read this. I think this is one of those novels that could really help people remember and understand what it’s like to be 14 and maybe remember that starting out as a teenager is not as easy as people seem to think.

I totally think this is a book to read. It’s young, it’s fun, it’s a pretty quick read, and it’s definitely worth the time to sit and give it a chance to impress you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Freaky Monday by Mary Rodgers and Heather Hach

Author: Mary Rodgers and Heather Hach
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Category: Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thirteen-year-old Hadley Fox (I so love her name!) is not your average eighth grader. She has a 4.3 GPA (I know, makes me feel terrible for my grades in school!), studies like crazy, and constantly has her nose in a book. Hadley, even at 13, strives for Stanford as her college destination, but the one thing she also strives to do is become her gorgeous, loved-by-everyone older sister, Tatum.


Matters turn horrifying for Hadley when she forgets to write down an assignment in her “Super Student Planner Plus” and her whole world seems to collapse around her. Said assignment is an oral report for none other than Tatum’s favorite teacher, Ms. Pitt; the hippie, eccentric, over-involved teacher who prefers to be called Carol that Hadley can’t stand.

As Ms. Pitt makes Hadley try to wing her report and allows her a change in topic, something happens. In the Freaky Friday, Lindsay Lohan/Jamie Lee Curtis fashion, they finish a sentence together, the room shakes (which only they feel), and then they are transformed.

This couldn’t happen on any worse of a day for either of the two protagonists since today is the first time in months Hadley’s crush has spoken to her, and there is the first I-Hate-Mondays DANCE! As for Ms. Pitt (yes, I too can’t help but giggle), it is her meeting with the school board to become the head of the English department.


Things seem to run amok between both character’s lives from family, to love, to even careers, and not quite as smoothly as either would hope. You should also note that there are more correlations between this book and the Freaky Friday movie than there were between the Freaky Friday book and movie versions, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in this case.


I was amused from start to finish because of Hadley from her description of Tatum, which includes this little nugget, “In movies, brunette is code for “friend” and blonde translates to “girlfriend.” But this movie logic isn’t my reality.” And that’s just the beginning. We see movies and bands that most will probably notice, and bands that were totally made up (Sketched-Out Boy for example), but either way this is a quick, adorable, and quite amusing read. And it also reminds you that teachers have feelings, lives, and, most of the time, they do actually care.

Anyone that is still in school, or even those out of school, should totally read this story. Surprisingly, Hadley, Ms. Pitt, Tatum, and even the more minor characters can teach you something that you probably wouldn’t have thought about before, and I mean that in a good way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Secret Society by Tom Dolby

Author: Tom Dolby
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Category: Mystery/Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. (+Gold Star)

In Secret Society we follow the lives of four students from Chadwick Prep, one of the most elite prep schools in New York City. Phoebe is the eccentric new girl in town, Nick is the up and coming member of one of the wealthiest families in New York, Lauren is the budding socialite, and Patch is an amateur filmmaker. There is something else about these students that make them special, three of these students have gained the interest of The Society.

The Society is a secret group of people that’s mission is to “preserve a way of life.” I for one, have always had a major interest in secret societies and so I was already excited about this book; and Tom Dolby has definitely done his research with this. The imagery is so vivid that I actually found myself waking up from dreams about this book and about these characters, which is a major thing for me since most books don’t get in my head like that. Some people are probably thinking “Oh no, not something else about a secret society,” but this is majorly different. Think Gossip Girl (the show) meets The Skulls (Paul Walker/Joshua Jackson movie from 2000).

After receiving text messages that tell them to go to a gritty downtown warehouse, the three students begin the initiation into The Society. This initiation concludes with each of them receiving an ankh shaped tattoo on the nape of their necks. Once they are entered into The Society, they start gaining everything they were promised: fame, fortune, friends in high places, parties, private town cars that deliver them to and from events. But what’s the price they must pay in order to have these rewards?

Things start changing when the body of a young male is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks, aside from the ankh tattoo on the nape of his neck. Then they start to wonder, is all of this worth the risk? But questioning The Society in that way can lead to be very dangerous to not only their careers, but also to their lives and the lives of the people they care about.

I loved this book! I mean totally loved it, some of the characters are a bit cliché but I think in order to really relate to these characters at all, they needed to be. I also love the whole secret society thing. I find it so interesting and I have read all kinds of stuff about them. Fiction and nonfiction alike; The Life and Death Brigade (I love love love! Gilmore Girls), The Skulls, Skull and Bones, the Illuminati, the Freemasons, Fight Club, etc. are all secret societies either in popular culture or in reality. There are so many legends and depictions of these societies and I can’t help but to be fascinated.

I so highly recommend this book, if you can’t tell already. I am so excited for the sequel, which according to Tom himself (via Twitter @TomDolby) “I am writing THE DENDUR CONSPIRACY right now, so...fall 2010. I know, too long to wait!” I think that is too long to wait and this is the issue I have with reading the first book in a series while it’s still an ARC, because that means I have longer to wait until the sequel comes out! But this is definitely a book I will read again. There are so many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and I can’t wait to see how they pan out. Definitely a must read!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Young City by James Bow

Author: James Bow
Release Date: November 21, 2008
Category: Paranormal/Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I don’t know about most people, but I for one find reading a series out of order to be completely frustrating and I usually can’t do it. But this time, I could and I am really glad I did. The Young City is one of those stories that once you start, it’s hard to stop. It’s the third book in a series, The Unwritten Books, but it completely holds its own as a standalone novel.

Rosemary Watson and Peter McAllister are eighteen, in love, and finally beginning their lives outside of their parents and are starting college, but something else has a different plan for them. While helping Rosemary’s brother, Theo, move into an apartment, the floor falls in and the couple is swept away into the storm sewer of underground Toronto. When they finally get out of the water and get out of the river, they find that they aren’t in 2008 Toronto anymore; they seem to have gone back in time 124 years, and are now in 1884 Toronto. WOW! Twilight Zone, here I come!

But this isn’t quite like that at all; this is a much simpler, much harder way to live. Could you imagine going from cell phones, computers, and television to a time where there is no hot running water, no such thing as a battery, and women are just being allowed to become doctors? I sure couldn’t, but that’s what Peter and Rosemary fall into. It’s hard for them to even survive in such a different time, even from the first minute, but they soon meet Faith and Edmund, a brother and sister who have a pawn shop and who eagerly take the couple in, and help them adjust, no matter how odd they appear to be.

Working together, Peter and Rosemary have to come to terms with where they are and how it seems they can never get back to their tie, their home. Days become weeks, and weeks become months, and the couple begins to doubt whether they are ready for a life together, especially if that life is being stuck in 1884. Faith and Edmund help, but it’s still not enough for the young couple; that is until there is not only something fishy going on with Edmund, but also something going on at the construction site Peter is working on, and then someone brings a watch into the pawn shop, a watch with a battery, which isn’t even possible yet, and a stamp that reads “Made in Taiwan!”

Rosemary and Peter work even harder to not only find out what could possibly be going on, but also where the watch came from, and who else knows about the portals and their home. All they do know is, someone else knows, and that someone is taking advantage of these portals and not using them for good things; someone is smuggling trinkets between 1884 and 2008. It’s the who, why, and how that are still the problem; but it’s a problem Rosemary and Peter have to solve themselves.

If I could describe this book in three words, it would be: Captivating, adventurous, and must-readable! I found it so easy to get attached to these characters and their story that I was really sad to see it end. I want so badly to go back and read the first two books in this series, and I will. There’s tons of action, and twists and turns that I really never saw coming, and I was blown away.
The writing is exciting, and beautiful, and imaginative and I can’t believe I had never heard of these books before now! If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend you do so, it’s definitely a story that is worth the time and is worth hunting down (it’s from Canada).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In My Mailbox *3*

Okay so, I didn't get to check the computer last night and I kinda forgot, so! I am going to do IMM a bit late...meaning today. And just to let you guys know, I am going out of town Thursday, my mom has to go the the doctor in Nashville and that's about 3 hours away, so I will be gone until probably Friday or Saturday. I don't know if I will have internet or not, so I will just have to see when I get there!

I should have my review for The Young City up in a day or two, so look for that because the book was amazing!

Now, on with In My Mailbox!

This week wasn't too bad, I got 4 books.

  • Secret Society by Tom Dolby (which I am about half way through already and so far, I am liking it. It's imagery is really detailed, so that's kind of giving me odd "secret" dreams, so that's a bit weird, but whatever)!
  • ...By Daphne by Carmen Catalina
  • Breathe the Sky by Chandra Prasad
  • Duchess of Death by Richard Hack (which is a biography of Agatha Christie. I don't know about some, but despite the fact that most [not all] biographies seem to bore me to death, this one looks rather interesting. And I love Agatha Christie, so that helps)

Well there's what I got this week, anything in there that interests you?

XOXO

Sunday, July 5, 2009

In My Mailbox *2*

Okays, so it's been a bit of a slow week this week, and it being a holiday week and all, I didn't actually get any books in the mail, but not to fret my dears! I was at the store and every so often they do this LOVELY thing when they have an excess of books and they put them on sale for usually 1-5 dollars and I can almost ALWAYS find something there so I bought a few there and a couple I found at Borders on sale too! And just so you know, some of these I just got because I like the covers, heard about the authors before, or whatever, so let me know if you have read/what you think about any of these. Here we go:

  • Girls Dinner Club by Jessie Elliot
  • She's So Money by Cherry Cheva
  • The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold
  • The Queen's Bastard by Robin Maxwell
  • Blood Lies by Daniel Kalla
  • Unexpected Blessings by Barbara Taylor Bradford

There is one more that I am probably MOST excited about that I got, and I couldn't get a ARC copy, but I broke one of my main rules which is that I don't do E-Books and that kind of thing, UNLESS they are something major that I really REALLY want; but for this I made an exception. And now that I built the anticipation (at least I hope I have!) the book is...

The Siren by Kiera Cass!!!
I have been hearing about this book for months now, because I watch The Twicurls on YouTube and if you don't know who they are, you must check them out, I'll post a link (http://www.youtube.com/user/TwiCurls) Their names are Liz and Kiera and they are adorable and absolutely hilarious! Kiera has her book coming out soon and is now about 2 months (or so) pregnant and now she is even more beautiful than before! And Liz is a beautiful, budding musician, who has a gorgeous voice and someone who's CD I will probably end up buying someday (when she puts one out). They do skits and really amusing stuff and they are just fantastic girls, and I can't wait to start Kiera book. I didn't mean to go all promotional and all that on you guys, but I couldn't help it. These are two fantastic girls that everybody should check out. And you can read the first chapter of The Siren at http://kieracass.webs.com/writing.htm and if you subscribe to her mailing list, she will send you the second chapter!

Tell me your thoughts and the question I pose today is: What book (or books) coming up are you excited for?

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

Author: Mary Rodgers
Release Date: April 7, 2009 (Originally 1972)
Category: Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


I don’t know about anyone else, but whenever I hear the words Freaky and Friday, I automatically think back to Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis circa 2003. But this is a different Freaky Friday, the original, the better of the two in my opinion (I know there was another movie version in the 70s, but I’ve not seen it in years, and don’t remember much about it besides Jodie Foster). This is the story of Annabel and Ellen Andrews, and Annabel needing to learn her lesson.

I will tell you now, don’t expect the same exact story as the movie that you’ve probably seen at some point in your life; expect the same premise, but a better story. Annabel is the stereotypical 13 year old girl she’s loud, bossy and negative, hates her family and teachers, but loves her friends and annoying her brother. Annabel is a highly amusing narrator and she sees things like most kids do, i.e. better than adults give them credit for.

Annabel wakes up as her mother, gets dressed, fixes breakfast, sends Ben, aka Ape Face, and Annabel off to school, and then goes through her day in her mother’s body. Dealing with all kinds of issues throughout the day, from the neighbor boy saying he loves her, losing both the kids, the police thinking she’s crazy, and husband’s unexpected clients as guests, she handles it well…at first. Not only does she have a wild ride, dealing with things her mother normally would have to deal with she also has a school meeting to attend…about herself. She finds things that she probably needed to hear, but things that hurt to hear, and that’s where the lesson really starts to set in.

The majority of the story is told from Annabel’s perspective, while she is in her mother’s body and that actually helps the humor even more, take this little gem for instance: “Well in case you’re interested, a mouthful of heart is something like a mouthful of captured frog, and a mind in turmoil simply means all the blood un your body rushes around in your head, leaving you icy cold from the neck down. As for “butterflies in the stomach,” there is no such thing. They are June bugs.” You’ll have to read the book to find out the context there, but there are plenty more humorous moments between the 175 pages that make up this book.

This is a quick read, but one I definitely recommend. It’s funny and somewhat realistic, not in the whole switching bodies with your mother aspect, but in the way this family interacts with one another. I know that despite the length and the material that make up this adorable story, even I learned something about myself and I think everyone could take something away from this book, kids and parents alike. The whole 1972 copyright may throw some people off, but don’t let it; it’s a story that is still relevant today and probably will continue to be for as long as there are 13 year old girls with mothers and little brothers especially.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Update! And just randomness!

Hey guys!
Well I know I promised a review of WInter Wood by Steven Augaurde, but that's not going to happen. I tried, I mean I REALLY tried with this book, but I just couldn't do it. It's not that it was badly written (it was actually written quite well) or anything, it was just the story itself. I couldn't read it. I think I made it like page 62-ish, but I couldn't make it past that. I didn't know it was the THIRD book in a trilogy I'd never heard of before, let along read, or whether it's because I couldn't grasps what these chacters had to do with one another. Either way, this is NOT a stand alone book at all. I was so bored and confused by the time I made it as far as I did that I simply couldn't go on, and that my friends' is somehting I haven't done since school (The Red Badge of Courage and The Scarlett Letter were the only two books this has EVER happened with). But not to worry!

I did however mange to finish Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers in about two hours last night and got the review written and sent into TRT and once that is posted there, I will also post it here. I was planning on starting Freaky Monday by Mary Rodgers & Heather Hach today, but it wasn't such a great day for me personally, so I will start it tomorrow. I should start posting more now, so that's good! I still don't think I will post every single day, but I will try to post much more often than I have been.

Now I pose a question for all you lovelies! How do you simply waste you time? I don't mean reading and the like, I mean to you play meaningless video games or anything like that. If so what do you play?

Personally, I play Free Realms

I am Loreli Moonbeam in game.

And I've also been spending quite a bit of time on ourWorld.
That is me! And if you guys click there and sign up and play, it helps me out too! (You know you want too, and thanks in advance)!


So those are a couple ways I waste my time, her lately it's been on ourWorld, but yea. And don't worry, both game are family friendly and have mods to make sure they stay that way. It's just fun and wa time waster. So.
How do you waste your time?

XOXO,
Samantha