Thank god for these wonderful guilty pleasure books. Sure they may not have all that much substance or challenge me mentally but boy am I able to gobble them up. It's got all of the ingredients a good guilty pleasure needs; romance, fighting, hot guys, mystery, more hot guys, and vampires. What more could someone want? Yes, Richelle Mead has done it again with the second book in the Vampire Academy series. She has incorporated all the thrills of the vampire world into a plot that any teen will enjoy. There is never a dull moment in the book; everything keeps going full speed ahead so that you never know what to expect next. And that's exactly what makes it so good. Just after you think you've figured out what's going to happen next, something new gets thrown in your face and you're knocked off of your feet, scrambling to find out all of the details of the new twist. And the author writes it all so that none of it seems unrealistic. You are led to believe that all of the things in the book could actually happen just because of the flowing writing style and the characters that you can completely relate with. It's so cool to be able to read about a girl, who could quite possibly be your best friend, as she works through obstacle after obstacle with sass, spunk, attitude, and humility. So all in all, I would highly recommend the Vampire Academy series as a completely thrilling, delicious, and suspenseful guilty pleasure that will surpass all of your expectations. :D
This is an example of a beautiful, poignant, and perfectly crafted book. I have absolutely nothing to gripe about and only have praise for How To Build a House. The story deals with real life issues and puts them into perspective for the readers. I was able to feel myself in all of Harper's situations and I totally understood her which is a great thing. I loved that I was able to relate to all of the characters. They each were well written with a huge attention to detail that I loved. I also liked how Harper and Teddy's relationship was believable and realistic. The chemistry they had felt totally true to how teens interact with each other and it makes you root for them throughout the whole story. I also liked how we got to see all the dynamics of a complicated family life and how through all the hardships that Harper's family faced, they were able to pull through. The imagery and descriptions in the book were beautiful, the characters had a ton of depth to them, and the plot was sweet and poignant. What more could you ask for in a book? Pretty much nothing. I would completely recommend How To Build A House. It is a truly bittersweet, touching, and well-written book that will keep you flipping the pages and rooting for the characters throught its entirety. Pick up a copy soon!
How To Build A House will be released tomorrow; Tuesday, May 27.
Although the story was unrealistic, the topic was a little ridiculous, and the characters were not well developed, I still found myself drawn into this book. Yes, I do have quite a few issues with the main aspects of the book, but I kind of think that the whole plot was absurd and strange enough to be interesting. And although I know that something like kids coming back to life would never happen, it made for a very good and compelling story. I really couldn’t stop reading and yet as I was devouring the book, I was cringing at the rough character development and the unexplored background stories of the main people. I wish that I could’ve gotten to know the main characters better than I did. Throughout the book I felt as if I wasn’t really connecting with the story. I didn’t know the characters enough to sympathize with them or feel what they were going through which I think was the biggest downfall of the book for me. I just wish that the author could’ve slowed down and explore the details a little more. There were also some points in the book where I was extremely confused because the characters were talking about situations or events, which were not told about in the book. It felt as if we were just kind of dumped into this story that had already been going on for a while and which we missed the beginning of. But strangely, despite all of that, I really liked Generation Dead a lot. Maybe even enough to overlook all of its shortcomings and just appreciate it for the good book that I think it is underneath it all. The plot is interesting, not predictable, and unique. It’s definitely not a topic about which I’ve read before. And I think it’s good that there are authors out there willing to branch out into new stories or situations that haven’t been written about before. And so overall, although I did find a mountain of things wrong with this book, I’m going to have to recommend it as a really engrossing read that I think anyone will enjoy, just because of the neat plot, and the writing style of the author. And I’m really hoping for a sequel, and soon, because this book left off with a huge cliffhanger. And while I’m waiting anxiously to see what happens next, I’m simultaneously hitting myself on the head saying; you shouldn’t like this book! It’s got so many things wrong with it! But, yet, I think you should read Generation Dead because it is truly a very interesting book by a new author whom I have high hopes for!
I loved this book so much. What’s interesting is that I read this right after Becoming Chloe and they both include road trips. The difference is that one trip is about going place and finding things and the other one is not so much about going places, but about the bonds that you make on the road. Truthfully, I think you need some of both so I’m glad that this book had that. While Vicks, Jesse, and Mel didn’t see such hugely impressive things as Jordy and Chloe did, I think they had the same amount of fun, because they learned about themselves and enjoyed it as they were doing it. And really, who wouldn’t want to see the world’s smallest police station, or the coral palace, or even the stuffed alligator Old Joe? I think that would be pretty sweet. The thing I liked about this book the most was that it was written in alternating points of view and that it was by three different authors. That way, each writer was able to fully get into their role and create some pretty amazing and memorable characters. I also liked that we got to see all the sides of everyone. No one was exempt from acting dumb or immature, but still, each person had her moment of shining glory also. The other thing I liked about How To Be Bad was that it was completely and utterly hilarious. It had its serious and touching moments but I think I never read more than five pages without laughing out loud. And so even though this book was about fleshing out relationships, it was also about having fun doing that. And yes, I would highly recommend How To Be Bad as one of the best, most funny, and deeply touching book you will read all summer. And if you want to find out which “bad” girl you are, go here. And my results are:
I don’t think this book hit me as hard as I had expected it to, but it was still a pretty amazing book. I was expecting to be blown away, but even though that might not have been the case, I was still reasonably wowed. The story itself is a great one and one that will make you rethink how you look at the world. Looking at the problems of our world verses the beauties of it from the eyes of someone who is seeing it all for the first time is really hard-hitting and it made me think; do I appreciate the beauty that is all around me? And I think that I’d have to answer that I probably don’t. You know, we are all just so busy rushing through our lives at break-neck speed that it’s rare that any of us really have time to stop and smell the flowers. I really would love if I were able to take a break from life and just go find things. Not necessarily even outside my own state. Just to be able to notice and appreciate things that I haven’t before would be enough. So as you can see, it’s the kind of book that really makes you think about things which is definitely a good thing. I also liked how the characters weren’t stereotypical at all. They were people that were battling their own problems in life, and found each other through that. It was nice to see characters out of the ordinary and who helped you expand your thinking. I also loved the whole self-discovery aspect of the book and how, in the end, the question of beauty wasn’t clear-cut. The author left it for you to decide if you thought the world was good and it was nice how a specific viewpoint wasn’t forced on you. So I would definitely recommend Becoming Chloe. Even though it wasn’t as provoking as I though it was going to be, it was still an amazing book.
Although I had quite a few issues with this book, I couldn't help but feel myself reeled in. I stayed up reading it really late and even though I wasn't satisfied with all of the aspects of the book, I think it was a very good read. Now about those things that I had issues with...I think that the characters weren't developed enough and that the plot was a little too predictable. Don't get me wrong, I like me some nice, fluffy, and predictable books every now and then, but I definitely think that Cherry Cheva could've have worked to throw a few more twists into it than she did. And I also would've loved to be able to get to know the characters better. I think that that aspect of the book was rushed and not filled in very well. Also, the ending came a little too fast for my preference. It was very sudden and it just kind of ended. All that stuff probably makes this seem like a horrible book, but it really wasn't. One of the things that I liked was the unique plot. It might not have had many surprises, but it was a new and unexplored concept which was neat. I also liked how the side characters got to shine along with the main ones and we got to see the alternate sides of many of the "popular" characters in the book. And overall, I think that Cherry Cheva did a great job writing She's So Money. Even with all of the faults that I found with it, I really couldn't stop reading it. She just has the kind of writing style that leaves you wanting more and I am completely satisfied with this book and I would highly recommend it as a very fun and light read. Perfect for summer! Which, by the way, has arrived without me even noticing. I swear, I woke up last week and I was like; woah-there are only two weeks of school left! When did that happen? And since then I've been in a huge fog because of lack of sleep from studying for finals. I'm amazed that I'm having time to read at all. I probably shouldn't be reading...but oh well. Can't pull a girl away from her obsession, can you? And enough with my rambling already. :D Go read She's So Money!
How did you come up with the story for LAWKI and D&G?
I got the idea for Life As We Knew It from the movie Meteor. It's not a particularly good movie, but it was on one afternoon and I watched it. It got me thinking about what it would be like for a kid to live through an end of the world situation. I began thinking about what sort of disaster I wanted and what the characters would be like, and the next thing I knew, I had an idea for a book.
I loved writing LAWKI and tried to convince the publisher (Harcourt) that they wanted a sequel. They didn't, but they were interested in a companion novel. So for the dead & the gone, I took the same situation and wrote about completely different characters. Instead of a girl in a small town in Pennsylvania, I wrote about a boy in New York City.
Was it hard to envision and write about all the death and destruction that occurs in the books?
There were moments when it was hard. There was a character I was very fond of in d&g who I knew was going to die, and it was upsetting when I got to that scene. But mostly it was fun. It's entertaining to be in total control of the world.
Why did you choose to set the stories in Pennsylvania and New York? Do you think the plot would have been different if they were set in a different place in the US?
I set LAWKI in Pennsylvania because I was tired of setting books in New York State (where I live). As it happens, I live about a half an hour from Pennsylvania, so it really wasn't all that different. Then I set d&g in NYC, because that's the city I know best. I think the plots would have been very different had I set the books in different places. What would things be like in the midwest? Or where the volcanoes are exploding? Or down south?
What is the number one thing you would find hardest about living through the situations that you wrote about?
Not knowing how everyone I love is doing. If I couldn't talk or e-mail my friends and family who don't live nearby, I'd go crazy.
For both Miranda in LAWKI and Alex in d&g, there's real pain and loss when people they love and depend on leave and are never heard from again.
What has been the coolest or most rewarding thing about being an author?
I've always loved being an author (I wrote my first book my last semester in college, so it's been my only real job). But the past couple of years, thanks to LAWKI and the internet, it's been so much more fun. I love reading blogs that mention my books, or checking libraries to see if they've gotten copies. I also love the contact I've had with people who e-mail me or who leave comments on my blog (http://www.susanbethpfeffer.blogspot.com/). And I check my Amazon numbers obsessively.
What are some books that you'd recommend for teens?
I don't think I have any books I'd recommend for teens particularly. I'd just recommend teens (and everyone else) read things they find interesting. I read lots of non-fiction, and I'm always drawn to the subject matter.
If you had to go live on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you?
A laptop that plays dvds and lots of dvds
But what I'd really want is a plane ticket home.
What is one random fact you'd like people to know about you?
I saw Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Mamas and the Papas, and the Beatles in concerts.
The Mamas and the Papas was the most memorable because there was a riot.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of writing?
I love movies, going to the movies, watching movies at home, reading about movies, collecting movie memorabilia. So pretty much anything to do with movies.
What's next for the series?
Ah, a question I don't know the answer to. I've been playing with ideas for a possible third book, but Harcourt hasn't indicated they're going to want one (they haven't indicated that they aren't- they just haven't indicated). I'd love to write a third book so I can find out what happened to my characters, but as of the moment, there are no official plans.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Just a thank you to you, and to everyone else who's expressed interest in my books. LAWKI has received so much support from people I'll never meet but will always be grateful to. Also, you asked a lot of questions I haven't been asked before!
Thank you so much Susan!
I had enormously high expectations coming into this book because I absolutely loved the first book, Life As We Knew It. And for the most part, all my expectations were met. The only itsy bitsy complaint that I have was that this book was a little be harder to get into than LAWKI. Thankfully that didn't last long and I was able to get completely swept away once I got a little farther in. Other than that, D&G was just as good as LAWKI in every way. Susan Beth Pfeffer really knows how to tell a story. She was able to make it so that two books, telling the story of the same situation, were able to be unique and completely different than each other so that nothing felt repetitive or boring. LAWKI was set in the country so things were bound to be different in this book and they were. I never thought that the author would be able to make the stories so separate but she pulled through and I was so happy about that. I got to read two equally amazing books and see one chilling and scary story from two perspectives which was really great. I also liked how, as in LAWKI, the characters had a ton of depth and they were all planned out extremely well. Another thing I liked was that in this book, we got to see things from a religious standpoint. In LAWKI, the religious people kind of get bashed and I was really glad to see that the author could look at both sides of a situation and see it from everyone's shoes. So all in all, I would highly recommend The Dead and The Gone as a chilling, spooky, and extremely addicting read.
This book has dealt with some controversy on the subject matter in it. There is sex, drugs, alcohol, swearing, and smoking, and yet that really isn't the essence of the story. The real heart of the book lies in the coming of age of a young and insecure guy. It also focuses on Alaska and all the heartache, mystery, and "screwiness" that come with her. I think that Looking For Alaska was a positively marvelous book that wove a story of tragedy and love with frank and realistic writing. I've read John Green's other book, An Abundance of Katherines and I liked it a lot, but I also think that this book was much better. I think it had more depth and meaning in it that really helped you to relate to the characters and what they were going through. I loved the humor, the plot, the pranks, and all of the hidden meanings, and I think that this book is a must-read for any one. I must caution though, that it is only for mature readers. And I think that that is really all I can say about Looking For Alaska. It was compelling and creative and had a pretty much perfect ending. Just go read it now.
Having never read a novel that was written in verse before, I didn't know what to expect from this book. I, of course, had heard great things about it but I'm not really a person who likes things that are out of the ordinary. Surprisingly though, I did like this book. A lot. I was drawn in from the first page and I think that the verse form really helped to bring more expression and feeling to the book than the book would have otherwise had. The thing about verse though is that it's hard to get details in and I felt that the story was a little lacking in that department. I think it would have been nice to have been able to see more depth in the story. I'm fine with the length that it was though because it was a nice quick book that got wrapped up nicely and had a beautiful ending. It was pretty every thing I could expect. Oh, and the one thing that bugged me about the cover was that the guy's arm has this thick rope-like vein. And yes, I know that that sounds weird, but it just kind of stuck out at me and annoyed me to no end. :D I get bugged by the little things like that. It's kind of strange. Other than that, the book was really amazing and I will definitely be looking out for more verse novels now that I've dipped my toes into that genre. I liked it a lot and am ready to try more books like that. So I would recommend I Heart You, You Haunt Me wholeheartedly. It's a very nice, sweet book that will not fail to draw you in.
Awww! This book was just too cute. I think I expected it to be a little more deep and meaningful than it was, but I think the light and fluffy style of the book was a nice change. I began out thinking that this book was going to be like The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things which I've reviewed on this blog and which really was a nice, deeper book addressing the same issue of obesity, but this book was more of a coming of age story. It tells how Hayley finds her place as a woman with curves. And I liked that we got to see that side of it and that Hayley learned that although it's not great to be super large, it's okay to be round and enjoy food. None of us are required to fit the stereotype thinness that's pushed on us by the media, but rather we should do what we think is best for our bodies and our lives. And I think that that message, along with the very cute plot line really helped this book tell its story. I liked it a lot. And with that being said, I do have a few complaints. I think that I would've have liked the story to have been a little bit longer and more detailed. I feel as if it all moved a little too fast and we didn't get to meet the characters and learn about them enough. Also, I didn't think that Enzo (the boy Hayley falls in love with) and Hayley's relationship was believable enough. It was all a bit brief and it just didn't have that special spark that makes you think; wow, that really is love. Also, I don't think that the cover fit the book at all. The whole book is set in scenic Italy and you can't guess that from the cover which kind of bugs me. Other than that though, Pretty Face was a nice, fluffy, and highly enjoyable read that has enough sustenance to pull readers in and keep them hooked for the entirety of the story. I really liked this book and I would definitely recommend it as a feel-good summer beach read.
I was lucky enough to be able to interview Siobhan Vivian, the amazing author of A Little Friendly Advice. She was so sweet and fun to talk with and she even sent me super cute buttons that go along with the book! You can find my review of A Little Friendly Advice here. and you can find Siobhan's site here. Enjoy the interview!
It was pretty much a fairytale. I had been going to grad school at night to study Creative Writing. David Levithan was my thesis advisor, and I worked with him on A LITTLE FRIENDLY ADVICE during my last semester in school. Once I graduated, he let me know that he would be interested in publishing the book. It all happened very fast.
Did you draw any of the moments in ALFA from your own teen years?
Yes, absolutely. ALFA is actually based on a little tiff that was going on with friends of mine during high school, where one friend went to questionable lengths to try and keep another girl from getting repeatedly heartbroken by a shady guy.
Which of your characters do you feel you relate to the most?
I think there’s a little of me in all the characters, but I guess I’d have to say Katherine. I have a tendency to act really tough, but it’s all to cover up my crazy insecurity issues.
Do you think you've found your niche in writing for YA or would you ever try writing in another genre?
I can’t really see myself writing anything else but YA. Those are just the kinds of stories and characters I am always drawn to.
What's your favorite thing about writing?
I love the feeling that comes from getting something right—be it a word, a snippet of dialog, a description. That feeling is totally euphoric.
Do you have any other passions besides writing?
I am obsessed with music, particularly bands from Sweden right now. Sweden has the most rocking bands with the cutest boys. I swear, I am going to move to Sweden one day and be a very happy girl.
I am also really into embroidery. I have this huge binder full of pretty colored string, and I love making little presents for my friends. Last Christmas, I embroidered a copy of David’s first book, BOY MEETS BOY, and had it framed. It was pretty bad ass.
What are some books that you'd recommend for teens?
My favorite book of all time is BLANKETS by Craig Thompson. It’s a graphic novel, it’s HUGE, but it is seriously so awesome. Other favorites of mine are GINGERBREAD by Rachel Cohn, PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky and I loved all the RABBIT novels by John Updike. I devoured those in college.
If you could spend one day with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Hmm…great question! I think I’d like to hang out with Shepard Fairey. He’s the artist who makes those OBEY ANDRE THE GIANT stencils that are everywhere. I’d love to spend a day running around and tagging up the city with him. Here’s a link to his site…such a cool guy.
What was one of your funniest experiences as a teen?
Easy. My family was on vacation and had purchased some waterskiing lessons for my little sister. I already knew how to water ski and I was also completely in love with one of the boys who gave the lessons. So, this boy invites me to ride in the boat with him and as I went running down the dock, I tripped over a rope and slid like 10 feet on this really gross, dingy plastic green grass carpet. I ended up scraping both my knees and my chin and was bleeding all over myself. He tried really hard not to laugh at me, but his friends weren’t so kind.
Now that I think about it…that wasn’t so much funny as it was completely mortifying…but there you go!
What's up next for you?
Yay! I’m so glad you asked. I’m just finishing up my next book called SAME DIFFERENCE, It’s about a girl named Emily who struggles with having two different identities --- depending on whether she’s at home with her popular, suburban best friend she grew up with, or hanging out in a city with a super cool, wild new girl she befriends in a summer art class.
Anything else you want to add?
Yes. You look totally pretty today.
Why thank you! :P
And be sure to pick up a copy of A Little Friendly Advice! It really is a great book by a super cool author.
Yay! I was so relieved once I got into this book because I really didn't want to be let down by Stephenie Meyer. She had created such a great series with Twilight and I wanted this book to be just as good. And thankfully it was; it really surpassed all of my expectations. The book starts out fast and only gets faster as it takes you speeding through this science fiction whirlwind of an adventure. It had all the elements that a good book needed; skillfully crafted characters, a new and exciting plot concept, and concise and perfect writing that really sweeps you away. I think it was such a cool idea to have this be a sci-fi kind of book. I haven't read a lot of that genre and so I didn't really know what to expect, but now I'm thinking that I'll have to read more of it because I think the whole concept of souls and hosts and planets was incredibly neat. It took the story to a whole new level and you could tell that each aspect of Stephenie's world was carefully planned and thought out so that everything was wrapped up cleanly. And the characters were perfect. Stephenie knows how to create a character that seems believable and real. I definitely began to feel as if I knew the characters in the book and I especially loved reading about all their interactions with each other and the dynamics of their relationships. And the cool thing was, just when you thought you had the plot and the characters figured out, another twist got thrown in that would leave you wanting more and sitting on the edge of your seat to find out what happened next. I could not put this book down, which was excatly what I wanted and expected from The Host. Stephenie Meyer has created yet another thrilling and captivating world that will delight readers just as much as Twilight. I would highly recommend this book to everyone. Go read it now.
And you can read about my experience with The Host tour and book signing by scrolling down the page or clicking here.
(All the people!)
And finally Stephenie came out at around six to a crowd of screaming fans. She spoke for about fifteen minutes, answering some of the questions people who got there early had submitted. She talked about everything from her inspiration for the story, to the Twilight movie, to her family. She had to keep it brief though so she could actually sign all our books before the mall closed!
And here's my funny story: I went to the signing with my cousin who has a small baby and so after we had waited in line for about a half an hour into the signing, a guy who was doing management for the event pulled us out of line and let us budge everyone! So I got to get my book signed pretty quickly and my baby cousin got to come up with me. So I thought that was a pretty cool thing. At least we didn't have to wait in line super long!
(Stephenie signing books)
So, overall, the whole book signing event was very fun and I think the excitement of the atmosphere was one of the things that made it the most memorable. It's a once in a life time experience to be able to see such a high-profile author! There were people there with homemade shirts for Twilight and the Host and most surprisingly there was even a guy or two. :) I am now reading The Host and I hope to get a review up soon!
(Sideways view of my book)
I kind of have mixed feelings about this book. I'm going to get my complaint out first. I wasn't really able to fully get into the book. I thought it was a great story line and everything but nothing in it ever grabbed me and made me want to keep reading. I think if I had to, I would be able to put the book down and not really care about the ending. It just wasn't the kind of book that made you want to flip pages. Other than that, I don't have very many things against it. The thing I really liked about the book was how in depth the characters were and yet the story still had this laid back, sunny feel to it. It kind of seemed like you were getting to know all the people the family as you were sitting in their backyard drinking lemonade. But I also liked how despite the laid back feel, you still got a really good insight into all the aspects of their lives that you wouldn't normally be privy to. It was also just a sweet and simple plot line that had all these nice, but meaningful aspects to it. I think the best thing about the plot was the way it tackled racism. It was deep and yet you didn't feel as if it was bogging the story down. I also liked the way we got to see all the family ties. And I think my favorite part would have to be the cute little twists at the end in which everything turns out happily and every little thing gets resolved. So although it wasn't the easiest book to get into, I'd still recommend One Whole and Perfect Day because it really is just a great, feel-good kind of story.
So, here are the rules for this super fantabulous meme:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to the person who tagged you once you've posted your three sentences.
Ooh! Fun! The closest book to me is the one I'm currently reading; One Whole and Perfect Day. I actually haven't gotten to page 123 yet, but here are my sentences, nevertheless:
After the shock he'd experienced-the place where he'd grown up vanished while his back was turned-Stan felt he needed meat. Meat of some kind anyway. "Got any Chiko Rolls?"
Huh? Does anyone know what Chiko Rolls are? I think the book is set in Australia so that might explain why I'm kind of out of it. :D Those are cool sentences though!
And here are the five people I tag:
1. Dominique from The Book Vault
2. Jordyn from Page Numbered
3. Cyndi from The Page Wanderer
4. Chelsie from Read, Read, Read
5. Kelsey from Reading Keeps You Sane
I'm still kind of shell-shocked from reading this. I had heard many good reviews about it and I think that it really lives up to all the hype, but in a creepy way that's bound to send shivers down your spine. I've never read a book that's based on the end of the world before so I was a little nervous going into it. You know, I didn't want it to be hugely morbid or preachy or anything like that. It turns out that it had the perfect balance of every thing that a book needs to keep you hooked. First of all, the plot was amazing. I was completely drawn in which was wierd. I've never thought of myself as a person who would find excitement in reading about civilization's demise, but I did. Sadly. The story was just told in such a way that you couldn't help but be completely and utterly absorbed. And it really puts things in perspective. I mean, what if something that drastic actually happened? This book definitely made me think about that kind of stuff and it really made me appreciate my life as I know it. The second thing that made this an amazing book was that the diary format was the perfect way to tell the story. I, for one, have never been much of a diary book person but I think that that was pretty much the only way to tell the story successfully and it made it that much more personal to read it from the point of view of someone you can relate with. And the last thing that I loved about the book was how in depth it was. You could really tell that the author put a lot of thought into what she was writing about and it wasn't just a random story. There was a lot of perspective and insight that really helped give the story more meaning. So if you're looking for a book that will quite possibly change your outlook on life as well as keep you glued to the pages for a good couple of hours, you'll definitely want to pick up Life As We Knew It. I know that it is going into the stack of my all time favorite books and that's saying something because books don't get put there very often. :)