Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not That Kind of Girl - Siobhan Vivian

Natalie Sterling is not the kind of girl to be worry about boys in high school. After spending four years at Ross Academy, she knows that boys are up to no good and cannot be trusted. Her prime example is her best friend Autumn, who was completely ruined by a boy. In fact, Natalie has better things to worry about, like being elected Student Council President, doing well on the SAT, and getting into the college of her dreams.

Then, the irresistible Connor Hughes steps into the picture, and the image Natalie Sterling has created of herself ruins as she transforms into that kind of girl...

I read Siobhan Vivian's debut novel, A Little Friendly Advice, two years ago, and I absolutely loved it. Naturally, I had high expectations for this novel. While I did not enjoy this novel quite as much, it certainly did not disappoint. On the surface, Not That Kind of Girl seems like a typical YA chick lit novel, and to an extent it is: boy likes girl, girl falls for him, and the rest is pretty obvious. However, Vivian adds more depth to the novel, by addressing the society's quick-to-judge nature. By doing this, Vivian incorporated aspects of feminism, creating an unique reading experience.

The main flaw in this novel involved Natalie's relationship with Connor. Vivian spent little time developing the relationship outside of physical intimacy. I felt that sex played too large of a role in the relationship. I have no problem in sex in YA novels, as it makes the novel more realistic. However, at times, I felt the relationship was based solely on sex. A little development would have gone a long way.

Overall, Not That Kind of Girl is a good book for someone looking for an unconventional teen romance novel.

Related Links
Siobhan Vivian's Site
Indie Bound

I received this book as a part of the Amazon Vine Program.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


One of the things I miss most about actively reading book blogs and regularly updating mine is knowing about upcoming books and new authors.

So, I have a question for you (if you are still out there)! What are some recent or upcoming releases that you really enjoyed, and what debut authors have impressed you?

Who knows, this might even be a surprise giveaway. ;)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Promise Not to Tell - Jennifer McMahon

One potato, two potato, three potato, four...

In 1971, a murder shook the the small Vermont town of New Canaan. Del Griswold, known as Potato Girl to her classmates, was a carefree farm girl. While most of the school wanted nothing to do with her, Kate Cypher befriended her. However, any friend of Del's was sure to be ridicules, so Kate kept the friendship a secret.

Three decades later, Kate returns to New Canaan to care for her mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's. On her first day back, a young girl is murdered, reminiscent of Del's murder. Kate soon meets with Del's older brother, who is convinced that Del is back and seeking revenge. At first, Kate is unconvinced, but what else could explain the mysterious events that have occurred, such as Kate's mother speaking in a voice that unmistakably belongs to Del?

Jennifer McMahon's Promise Not to Tell is a novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat. McMahon did an excellent job depicting the eerie occurrences of New Canaan. I would start reading this book at night around midnight, and I literally could not put the book down, for fear that Del's ghost would attack me (okay, so not so much attack me, but the novel did creep me out). As a result, I stayed up until 3 a.m. just so I could finish it and lay Del's ghost to rest (sorry for the bad pun, but I couldn't resist!).

Anyway, the novel alternates from 1971 to 2002. In the 1971 sections, McMahon reveals Kate's childhood friendship with Del. Del and Kate shared an unique bond as outsiders. Del was the farm girl that all the kids made fun of, while Kate was part of a hippie communion. However, each girl kept secrets from the other. In the 2002 sections, Kate reflects on the mistakes she made as a child. The novel also delves into Kate's relationship with her mother and other members of the communion.

I personally thought that the killer was relatively easy to guess. This, however, did not make the novel any less enjoyable. My main complaint about the book was that the ending was rushed and left me desiring more. Not necessarily more closure, but more detail about the closure.

Overall, Promise Not to Tell is a good pick for anyone looking for a ghost story.

Related Links
Jennifer McMahon's Site
Indie Bound

I purchased this book.

Back from Hiatus

I'm sure you've guessed it, without me mentioning it, but I went on a hiatus. The beginning of college was insane, and I didn't even have time to read, much less maintain a blog. Seriously, the only time I read now is on my breaks. Last week was my spring break, and I received an invitation to join Amazon Vine. The invitation made me realize just how much I missed blogging.

While I won't be able to post as often as I'd like, I would like to post reviews every once in a while so keep watch!

Friday, August 27, 2010


While all bloggers like new followers and increased stats, I think most bloggers LOVE comments. Comments show that a blog has active readers, that not only take the time to read posts, but also to share their own thoughts. Importantly, comments also allow bloggers to get to know their readers.

I also believe, however, that comments are also one of the hardest things to receive. I know this from my personal experience. To elaborate (Warning, this might get boring. Feel free to skip to the next paragraph.), I use google reader to update my blog. I go through my unread items and star the ones that I want to read later. When I read my starred items, I'll comment on particularly striking posts. Here's where the problem comes. A lot of times, I'll star items, and then I'll star even more items. Before I know it, I'll have hundreds of items I need to read. There's no way I can read all those items, so I usually just unstar them, and start over from my unread items. I wish I could say that I'll make sure my starred items do not pile up, but I know that life is busy. But I also know that comments make an IMPACT.

In short, I think readers have good intentions, and may genuinely like certain blogs, but simply do not have time to comment and read many entries. Also, the large number of great blogs also makes it difficult to comment. At the same time, most bloggers spend hours writing posts for their readers, so to know that readers appreciate them is great. Appreciation also helps bloggers find the motivation to improve their blogs, so shouldn't readers try to comment more, even if it is just a little?

So here's my pledge to comment more on my favorite blogs, and I hope you do the same. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

English 1102

So, this week is my first week of college! It has all been very surreal. I can't believe I'm in college already. Ha. Anyways, for this post, I wanted to discuss my English class. Each professor chooses a theme to discuss all semester. My professor chose adaptations. Basically, I read different pieces of literature and watch different adaptations of them and write about them!

As a reader, I know I have watched many terrible movies based on books. Of course, I have enjoyed a select few. I feel like this class could give me an appreciation of adaptations. At the end of the semester, I will write a post with overall thoughts. Below is a list of the books I have to read, along with the movies I have to watch. The texts are the ones next to the numbers and the bulleted are the adaptations.

1) The Taming of the Shrew - William Shakespeare
  • The Taming of the Shrew (1966)
  • 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) (!!!)
2) Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
  • Romeo and Juliet (1968)
  • Romeo + Juliet (1996)
3) Atonement - Ian McEwan
  • Atonement (1999)
4) The Long Halloween - Jeph Loeb & Time Sale
  • The Dark Knight (2008)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein - Libby Schmais

Lotus Lowenstein is a Francophile, someone in love with all things French. With the help of her friend Joni, Lotus creates a French Club at their high school. At the first meeting, the two girls are surprised when Sean shows up. Sean is handsome, to say the least, but both girls like him. Sean, inspired by his idol, Jean-Paul Satre, however, has no intention of choosing one over the other. Eventually, Sean creates a rift in the friendship between Lotus and Joni. When the French Club gets the opportunity to go Montreal, Lotus is not thrilled. Why would she want to go to Montreal if she would have to suffer seeing Joni and Sean together?

In The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein, Libby Schmais uses a common idea--a love triangle--and creates something that stands out. Schmais made the novel unique by the format and the protagonist (Lotus). The novel is set up in diary format. The diary itself is an assignment given by Lotus's English teacher, similar to Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey. This format allowed readers to get personal (nice phrasing, yes? :P) with Lotus.

Lotus herself is a character filled with personality! I have read hundreds of novels, and yet, Lotus stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable. Before I began this novel, I was not sure if I would like Lotus. I was afraid that her obsession with all things French would annoy me after a few pages. I was wrong. Lotus remained amusing throughout the entire novel. Schmais was able to do this by adding humor throughout the novel.

My main complaint with this novel deals with the minor characters. I wish Schmais would have fleshed them out more. Given that the novel is in Lotus's perspective, I realize that opportunities to discuss minor characters are limited. However, it seemed like Schmais had perfect places to insert more details about characters, yet she did not. In several parts of the book, Lotus mentions Joni's mom. Schmais offers few details about Joni's mom (who has a certain condition), and I felt myself unsatisfied. I mean, why mention her at all, then? While Schmais did leave the novel open to sequels, I do not know if one is actually planned.

The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein is a great book for anyone interested in French cultures and/or likes unique protagonists!

Related Links
Libby Schmais's site
Libby Schmais's blog

I received this book from Book Divas.