Friday, November 30, 2007

Violet on the Runway by Melissa Walker Book Review

Violet on the Runway by Melissa Walker
(Penguin, Paperback)


Violet has been plain her whole life. Plain and freakishly tall. So when a lady gives her a business card for a modeling agency in New York, she's shocked and not quite sure what to do. It's her senior year, she's got a great job at a theater, and she's got awesome friends. Does she really want to give all that up and become a model? Well, one weekend won't hurt. And with that, Violet heads to New York.

Violet on the Runway is a novel about a girl who has never really fit in. Violet is a great character because we've all felt like her at one time or another, awkward and plain. It's fun to read about how Violet blossoms (pardon the pun) during her time as a model in New York. As she learns, it's not all fun and games, and being a good friend is more important than being a good model. The sequel, Violet by Design, is out in March 2008 and I can't wait! I really hope that Violet's friends, Roger & Julie, are in this one a little more. They only had a few tantalizing scenes in Violet on the Runway, but they were crucial scenes.

Oh, and one last thing. I know absolutely nothing about fashion. I mean, I like nice clothes but I couldn't name a designer to save my life. Remember the scene in Sweet Home Alabama when Lurlynn thinks Melanie's shirt is the $30 variety? Let's just say that Lurlynn probably knows more about fashion than me. But I still really liked this book! So, fashionista or not, you should check out Violet on the Runway.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Luxe by Ana Godbersen Book Review

The Luxe by Ana Godbersen
(Harper Teen, Hardcover)


The Luxe tells the story of 5 teens in 1899 Manhattan. Imagine Jane Austen mixed with a lot of Gossip Girl. Society rules are all important and the girls must all decide if they will abide by the rules or make their own.

I really couldn't decide whether to give this book one star or two. The writing is good. Godbersen writes about places so that you can picture them. Her characters are well-written and you could easily picture your best friend or worst enemy saying and doing the things that her characters do. But I wanted to give it one star because about 1/4 of the way into the book, I knew exactly what would happen. Obviously, I didn't know all the intricacies of the plot (there were a few surprises) but I figured most of it out. Plus, the main character was a wishy-washy girl. I hate wishy-washy girls. I mean, if you know what you want, just go after it. Yes, there should be a certain amount of deliberation but this girl arguably ruins everything for herself. I decided, however, to give it two stars because I did finish it. And even though I knew what would happen, it still kept my interest. So, don't rush out and buy the hardcover. But if someone gives it to you as a gift this year, I wouldn't exchange it right away. Plus, the cover is gorgeous. Can you imagine wearing a dress like that??!!

Pirates! by Celia Rees Book Review

Pirates by Celia Rees
(Bloomsbury, Paperback)


Nancy Kington has been raised, for the most part, as a proper English lady. But when her dad dies, she is sent to his plantation in the West Indies. There she learns that she is to be married off to a cruel man who owns the neighboring plantation. She and her new-found friend and slave, Minerva, escape aboard a pirate ship. And that is where the adventure begins.

I picked this book up because it was voted a Teen's Top Ten Pick by Amazon. Nancy was a great character to tell this story - her voice is authentic and compelling. I found myself feeling trapped when she was trapped and free when she was sailing the seas. I'm also all about strong secondary characters in books and Pirates! has a lot of great characters, including Graham, the pirate ship's doctor, and Broom, the ship's captain. Celia Rees added some interesting philosophical elements about pirates and the British navy. As Nancy finds out, neither is all good or all bad. It reminded me a lot of Jean Ferris' Into the Wind series, which I read about 20 times while growing up and highly recommend. Nancy is a gritty main character, full of introspection. In the Into the Wind series, Rosie is sheltered and full of curiosity about the world. Similar time period and similar issues, but different plots and main characters.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones Book Review

The Faerie Path Trilogy by Frewin Jones
(Eos, 1st in paperback, 2nd & 3rd in Hardcover)

On her 16th birthday, after a horrible accident, Anita finds herself transported to another world. This world is the world of faerie and Anita learns that she is Tania, the long lost seventh daughter of the king and queen. Suddenly, Anita finds herself in the middle of six sisters and a 500-year-old prophecy that threatens to destroy both the faerie world and the human world. She also learns that Evan, her boyfriend in the human world is really Edric of the faerie court. Who can she trust and how can she save both of her families?

Overall, this was a interesting series. Although it uses some standard fantasy elements, the plot held my interest through all three books, The Faerie Path, The Lost Queen, and The Sorcerer King. Tania, as she decides to be called, is a strong heroine who isn't afraid to battle evil but is a little afraid that her human parents are going to be mad at her for disappearing. The books are written mostly in the faerie world and Tania's sisters and Edric make for unusual side characters.

Update: There are two other books in this series. The fourth book is called The Immortal Realm and it's available now. The fifth book, Enchanted Quest, is due to come out in January 2010.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter Book Review

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
(Hyperion, Paperback)


Being a Bond Girl has it's advantages (namely, James Bond). But wouldn't it be way cooler to actually be a spy instead of just knowing one? Meet Cammie Morgan, spy-in-training. Cammie goes to the all-girls Gallagher Academy which has been producing spies since Abraham Lincoln's time. The girls at Gallagher learn every language in the world, take PhD physics classes, and learn serious kick-butt maneuvers in gym class. But does Cammie do when she meets a cute boy in town? Exactly what any Gallagher girl would do. She treats it like a Covert Ops mission. She wire taps his house, hacks into his email account, and even steals his trash (although, technically, trash left on the curb is public property).

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You is a thoroughly enjoying read. I couldn't stop laughing at Cammie and her friends. I loved how they turned a normal girl crush into a huge spy mission. The book is full of great spy-girl dialogue, like this scene where Cammie is sneaking out for a date with Josh:
"I pulled the tapestry aside and started to slip in, just as Bex said, 'Knock 'em dead!'. I was already inside when Liz yelled after me, 'But not literally!' "
The sequel, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, is as funny and entertaining as the first novel. Cross My Heart is all about what happens when the Gallagher girls have to team up with a bunch of guys from an all-boys spy academy. I just finished the 2nd book last night and thought to myself that it was a satisfying conclusion and the author could either leave it at two books or write another sequel. Then, a little while ago, I read on Ally's blog that she just started Book 3. I can't wait to read it! I only wish that she had just finished it instead of just started it. Check out Ally's website for some cool stuff including an application to attend Gallagher Academy.