Tag Archives: 3 stars

Book Review: Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Release Date: July 12th 201
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series:  Kate Grable #1
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads description:Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe–not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She’s got to find an antidote–before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.

Wow…I’m so torn about this book. First of all, I’ve loved zombies since I learned about them. I’m always pretty excited to see anything involving zombies, so I was pretty interested to see how this book would go. I wanted to like it, and I guess I went in with high expectations. I didn’t hate it, but I was pretty disappointed.

Kate is brainy and driven, she works as a trainer for the football team because she wants to go to college to be a doctor. And the football team is awful. She finds out that the Coach is being shady and giving the team something, which she suspects are steroids. She also has a huge crush on Aaron, a member of the team. The story happens during homecoming week. She goes to her friend’s house for a party and an already gross boy turns worse and starts showing zombie-like symptoms. It turns out that several boys on the teams have a virus and are acting vicious with a taste for flesh.

I didn’t hate Kate, but sometimes I was close to it. She’s this really smart girl that everyone looks to but she kept doing really stupid things. She had some obstacles with town doctors, but she should have told anyone. She could have told her dad, but she never did. She could have told any number of people who could have called the CDC. Instead, she just handled things by herself. I understand that she probably didn’t think people would listen to her and she was doing the best she could, but I was constantly just annoyed.  She ended up getting lucky.

For the purpose of the book, I can see why it was important for Kate to be able to figure things out and take a stand. But in my opinion, she could have called someone for help and still fought the zombies. She still could have taken serious steps against them and made discoveries. I actually kind of liked Kate’s voice and I really enjoyed her interactions with Aaron (her crush) and Jonah (her brother). I think those relationships helped my opinion from being completely negative. A little more romance would have been nice! I ended up taking a break during this book and reading some romance books because it was driving me crazy. Since the book is about zombies, I knew it would take some “just let it go,” and I can handle the unbelievable fiction aspect but not how she handled a dangerous situation.

Even though I was a little exasperated with this book, it has a lot of really high ratings on Goodreads, so if it sounds like something you might like, you should definitely give it a try!  I didn’t know when I started, but the book is going to be part of a series, and the second book called Bad Hair Day (it’s going to be about werewolves) and is expected to be published in 2012!  You should also check out the author’s website and twitter!



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Book Review: A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

coverA Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Release Date: June 21st 2011
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Series: A Need So Beautiful #1
Rating: ★★★☆

Goodreads description:We all want to be remembered. Charlotte’s destiny is to be Forgotten…

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend’s arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become–her mark on this earth, her very existence–is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny–no matter how dark the consequences.

Charlotte is a foster kid going to a private school with a rich best friend and a drop out boyfriend. Interesting, right? Well, she also has a Need (capital N). It’s basically this feeling that forces her to help people. She can try to resist, but that doesn’t go well. She ends up around people she doesn’t know in places she’s not familiar with, giving someone a hint or life saving advice. At first they resist or deny, then it sets in and they go on with their life but in a different direction. Charlotte doesn’t know where the  Need comes from. She doesn’t even know where she comes from. But what used to happen once a year has become more and more frequent and inescapable.

Charlotte doesn’t like the Need. It takes time away from her boyfriend and best friend. It leads her to shady places. It’s demanding and uncomfortable. Sometimes there’s a Need when she feels she should help her own friends. There are good feelings that come from the Need being finished and it’s nice to help people, but it isn’t enough. She finally learns more from her family friend and doctor, Monroe. He explains more about the Need and tells her about the Forgotten. She also meets another like herself, and discovers that while this was forced upon her, she does have a choice. The Forgotten as angels concept is pretty interesting-that there’s a need and drive to help people and then you’re gone. Also, that a Forgotten can deny the Need  and can choose the alternative which is sort of a fallen angel aspect.

Charlotte was a little annoying about her love for Harlin. It kind of reminded me of when a friend has a boyfriend and won’t shut up about how hot and sweet he is. I GET IT, OKAY. I think that there might actually be a point to how enthusiastic she is, but it was still slightly annoying. However, I really like Harlin and I feel like he really cared about Charlotte. I felt bad for both of them having to deal with problems brought on by her Need. He worried about her and they loved each other, so I wished she would have shared more with him.

I have a lot of feelings about this book that I won’t put in this review because it would probably be ridiculously long. There were good parts and bad parts and then there was the end. The end of the book was pretty intense and left at a cliffhanger. There were some twists, and the big twist and I’m interested to see where the next book goes! Plus the title, A Want So Wicked, is kind of awesome in itself. Sounds like it’ll play into the darker side of Charlotte, and I can’t wait!

Check out the author’s website and twitter!

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Book Review: 10 Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

coverTen Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
Release Date: June 7th 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads description:2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn’t have.

If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn’t jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe “opportunity” isn’t the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: “Lied to Our Parents”). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up “Skipping School” (#3), “Throwing a Crazy Party” (#8), “Buying a Hot Tub” (#4), and, um, “Harboring a Fugitive” (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn’t-have-done at a time.

April is sixteen and in the winter break of her junior year when her dad tells her that they’re moving in nine days, forcing her to finish high school somewhere else. Having close friends and a boyfriend she’s in love with, this is upsetting news. So she fumbles for a plan–any plan. And that plan is moving in with her friend Vi. Vi’s mom has a never-there job, but that’s no big deal: they lie.With no supervision, April and Vi are guilty of typical teen antics and end up facing various states of chaos.  They have boys over, they drink, throw parties. They buy crazy things and get a kitten. They have to cope with the everyday challenges of being in charge of a household, while dealing with high school and regular teen issues.

April is on her own for the first time and learns that it isn’t always as awesome as expected. Add in friend drama, and overeager boyfriend turned reluctant, and a crush on a mysterious guy friend, and things can get pretty confusing. She also has family issues to deal with. For instance, the challenge of staying close with her mom in Paris and keeping her dad in the dark about her living situation.

This book was nice and light with some angst and awkward thrown in.  I don’t expect every book to be completely realistic, but for someone as strict as April’s dad, I don’t understand how he let his daughter move in with someone without a face to face sit down. That part was pretty hard to believe. But I do think that it dealt with some teen issues really well though. It was enjoyable and I’d gladly read anything else Mlynowski writes. Plus it was a quick read, so I’d encourage anyone to give it a shot!

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Review: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Prom and Prejudice book coverProm and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Release Date:January 1st 2011
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads description: After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise.

This book was a fun and light read, and it only took me a few hours to finish. As a long time lover of Pride and Prejudice, I was interested to see it put in terms of prom and high school.

I think because I went to a small high school with a smaller class gap, I wasn’t sure what to make of how class differences are handled in the wealthy atmosphere of their school. I’m not sure how realistic it was, but it made me feel lucky about my high school! And I’ve never been around really rich people and especially not large amounts of them, but do people really ask where people summer? Does that really happen? I’ve seen it on television some but I have no idea if people really talk like that, especially high schoolers. Even if they’re rich it seems weird to me, but it could be very realistic and I’m just completely clueless.

Lizzie deals with a lot of jerks that treated her badly for no real reason, just because she’s on scholarship. It would have to suck being a complete outsider like that in any situation. I liked her friendship with Jane (her roommate, not sister, in the book), it was sweet. Lizzie is spunky and stands up for herself, but all her bad experiences create a slight bitterness. I liked her, but she was a bit harsh in her judgments. I know that’s part of the point, but in my opinion, she sometimes went too far. I was glad to see her learn from her mistakes and realize that you aren’t required to keep first impressions, even if it is hard to shed them sometimes!

Darcy is a rude high school boy who thinks he’s better than Lizzie-or does he? Obviously there’s some misunderstanding when they meet. His change from “prejudice” to Lizzie-fan is kind of abrupt. Darcy is sweet, almost too sweet. I enjoyed him and his loyalty, but I would have liked to know more about him. He sticks up for himself and people he cares about, but I just would’ve liked more. More development, more interaction: MORE. Collins is acceptably condescending, Caroline is fittingly hateful, Bingley is delightful as always and Jane is the only thing she could ever be: sweet.

If you’re looking for a quick, fun read and don’t plan on judging it too harshly, definitely pick this up! If you love Pride and Prejudice, look at it as loosely based and don’t expect an exact retelling, try being open-minded and enjoy the fast-paced, enjoyable read.

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Review: The Sky is Everywhere

The Sky is Everywhere Cover
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Release Date: March 9th 2010
Publisher: Dial
Rating: ★★★☆

Goodreads description:Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

As the summary describes, Lennie’s sister (Bailey) has just died. Lennie and Bailey were close and Bailey’s death was sudden and shocking. Lennie lives with her grandma (Gram) and her uncle (Uncle Big) is a huge part of their life. She never knew her father and her mother took off when the sisters were young, leaving them with their grandmother. After Bailey’s death, the family has to find away to go on without her.

Disinterested in school, friends, and life in general without her sister; Lennie withdraws from life, pushing away her family and best friend Sarah and loses all interest in clarinet. Bailey’s boyfriend Toby is always around. They both want to talk about her, share her, are resistant to let her go at all, which creates a bond between them. They both have a lot of love left over and don’t know how to handle it with no obvious place to put it.

Lennie goes back to school to discover a gorgeous new kid by the name of Joe. Talented and gorgeous, he instantly shows interest in Lennie. He pushes her to play music with passion and to live again. And eventually it helps and she starts to play and take an interest in life again.

The whole book follows Lennie as she copes with the heartbreaking loss of one of the most important people in her life. She doesn’t want to move on, she wants to keep Bailey as close as she can. Sprinkled throughout the book are poems and memories about Bailey written by Lennie, she writes them on anything she finds: gum wrappers, walls, takeaway cups and other random canvases. She writes thoughts, feelings and anecdotes to help with coping and leaves them all over town. In order to move on, she has to make changes. In the process, she learns about herself, her family, and many new things about the sister she thought she knew so well.

I didn’t agree or like a few of the things Lennie did while grieving, but I think she really made progress and grew by the end of the book. I liked that the story showed her going through the motions and stalled. I liked that it showed her mistakes. I really liked that it addressed the give and take of grief and attempting to balance pain with moving on.

I liked this book, it was enjoyable if not a little frustrating to read. I won’t say why for spoiler reasons, but sometimes Lennie was just too much for me, I understood her sadness but I didn’t connect very well with her. I will say that she was funny and her snark was enjoyable. I probably wouldn’t read it again, but I would be glad to read other books by the author. Even though I didn’t “fall” for this book, I would definitely encourage anyone to give it a shot to see how they might feel about it!

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Review: The Help

The Help bookcover
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Release Date: February 10th 2009
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads description: Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

Set in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, Aibileen works for a well-to-do Leefolt family with status but not wealth, basically raising their child, Mae Mobley. She cooks, she cleans, she hears most of the town’s gossip and scandal through her employer, Elizabeth’s bridge club. Elizabeth is best friend to Hilly, president of the Junior League. She also hears and witnesses Hilly’s racism, in the form of an initiative for families to install a separate bathroom outside the house for “the help.”

Aibileen’s friend Minny is a sassy maid with troubles keeping her opinions to herself and a knack for finding herself in trouble. She finds herself out of work and unable to find a job because of Hilly’s lies. The helpless and clueless Celia Foote is uninformed and hires Minny, luckily for both.

Skeeter has dreams of writing and Hilly’s racist agenda doesn’t sit right with her. She takes a stand and decides to stop being a follower. At risk to herself and the maids involved, she writes a book describing the real lives of black maids and the families they work for, filled with juicy and true details. Aibileen and Minny, along with the other maids Skeeter interviews, risk so much to tell their story. They take a stand and do something that’s difficult and potentially dangerous just to show the world how “the help” is treated.

I love that Skeeter turns against everything she knows and really stands up for what she believes in. It would be easy for her to conform and just get married and have a maid raise kids for her, to do what her mom and society expects of her. However, she’s strong and sticks to her convictions, even when her closest friendships and her reputation is on the line. Writing the book was tense for everyone involved, and I loved that she bonded with Aibileen and some of the other maids.

I love that the book gives you a look into each lady’s life, I really enjoyed all three narrators. I loved reading about Aibileen and Mae Mobley, their bond broke my heart. And seeing into Minny’s home life along with all she dealt with at work is incredible. I loved seeing Skeeter take steps away from her friends and learn more about the world outside of Jackson. I love that Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter were strong women who didn’t give up and didn’t take the easy way out. I love the worry and excitement they all felt while writing and waiting for news about the book, and I felt it with them.

The story was touching, but it read a little slow for me. I know some people have had issues with the voice of the maids since the author is white, but she talks about that in the book’s afterword and she obviously cares a lot about the subject if she took the time to write it. I really liked the story, but I still felt some sort of disconnect with it. I did enjoy it and would recommend it, but I didn’t love it.

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