Saturday, October 31, 2009

After by Amy Efaw


After is unoriginal and bland. The writing is over simplified, trite and melodramatic. You have no sympathy for the characters.

The plot has the potential to be interesting and tell a story about what happens every day in our world (a newborn, baby thrown in the trash) but Efaw just can't seem to put a good story together.

The story is predictable and fails to explore emotional issues. You will be disappointed.
If you want to read a good book about this sad phenomenon, read Jodi Picoults', Plain Truth.



Grade: D-





Synopsis (Barnes and Noble)
An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . .

Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made—Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there's only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.

And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible— she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon's unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls) by Ally Carter



Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy is book two, in The Gallagher Girls series.

It is not equal to its' predecessor. It is just ok. It doesn't fully hold your interest but there are moments in it that make it semi-entertaining.

The plot is well written but the ending is pathetic despite this I will be reading the third installment because the characters are likable.

Save yourself some money, check it out of the library or borrow it.



Grade: C-





Synopsis
After staking out, obtaining, and then being forced to give up her first boyfriend, Josh, all Cammie Morgan wants is a peaceful semester. But that's easier said than done when you're a CIA legacy and go to the premier school in the world...for spies.

Cammie may have a genius IQ , but there are still a lot of things she doesn't know. Like, will her ex-boyfriend even remember she exists? And how much trouble is she really in after what happened last semester? And most of all, why is her mother acting so strangely?

Despite Cammie's best intentions to be a normal student, danger seems to follow her. She and her best friends learn that their school is going to play host to some mysterious guests--code name: "Blackthorne. Then she's blamed for a security breach that leaves the school's top-secret status at risk.

Soon Cammie and her friends are crawling through walls and surveilling the school to learn the truth about Blackthorne and clear Cammie's name. Even though they have confidence in their spy skills, this time the
targets are tougher (and hotter), and the stakes for Cammie's heart--and her beloved school--are higher than ever.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan



Commencement is an enjoyable read with likable and unlikeable characters. It chronicles the lives and relationships of four young women who meet as freshmen in college.

A wonderful debut novel that is well written. The ending is flawed and does not work. It is a total cop out making this reader feel cheated.

Despite the novel being weakened by the ending, it is worth the read.


Grade: B-




Synopsis
A sparkling debut novel: a tender story of friendship, a witty take on liberal arts colleges, and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the opportunities in the world, but no clear idea about what to choose.Assigned to the same dorm their first year at Smith College, Celia, Bree, Sally, and April couldn’t have less in common. Celia, a lapsed Catholic, arrives with her grandmother’s rosary beads in hand and a bottle of vodka in her suitcase; beautiful Bree pines for the fiancĂ© she left behind in Savannah; Sally, pristinely dressed in Lilly Pulitzer, is reeling from the loss of her mother; and April, a radical, redheaded feminist wearing a “Riot: Don’t Diet” T-shirt, wants a room transfer immediately.Together they experience the ecstatic highs and painful lows of early adulthood: Celia’s trust in men is demolished in one terrible evening, Bree falls in love with someone she could never bring home to her traditional family, Sally seeks solace in her English professor, and April realizes that, for the first time in her life, she has friends she can actually confide in.When they reunite for Sally’s wedding four years after graduation, their friendships have changed, but they remain fiercely devoted to one another. Schooled in the ideals of feminism, they have to figure out how it applies to their real lives in matters of love, work, family, and sex. For Celia, Bree, and Sally, this means grappling with one-night stands, maiden names, and parental disapproval—along with occasional loneliness and heartbreak. But for April, whose activism has become her life’s work, itmeans something far more dangerous.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Evermore: The Immortals by Alyson Noel




Evermore is book one in The Immortal Series and it is highly addictive (despite the silly name of the main character).

Noel, knows how to write an entertaining book about characters you can care about. The storyline is fascinating and not at all what you think. Noel captivates you and knows how to leave you wanting more without revealing too much.

You will be enchanted as twist and turns arise and will be pleasantly surprised at the way things unfold.



Grade: A



Synopsis (From the Publisher)
Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…
Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.

Friday, October 23, 2009

When Rabbit Howls - The Troops For Truddi Chase by Truddi; Introduction and Epilogue by Phillips, Robert A., Jr., Ph.D. Chase



When Rabbit Howls is an unforgettable book, written by a person(s) with Multiple Personality Disorder. This written account will be impossible to put down and leave you wondering how someone managed to survive a childhood of abuse that is so unimaginably horrific.

This book will show you what an extraordinary tool the human brain is. This is an emotionally, intense, powerful read.

This true story will make you cringe and seek solace in the ones who make you feel the most secure and loved.


Grade: A





Synopsis (Library Journal)


The strange world inhabited by those afflicted with schizophrenia or multiple personality syndrome is virtually impenetrable. By illuminating these convoluted worlds, both books make major contributions to the understanding of mental illness. North began to exhibit manifestations of schizophrenia as a child. Desite her acceptance of ``voices'' and ``visions'' as reality, the reader can easily identify with her as she struggles through her schooling. She graphically descibes her breakdowns and traumatic hospitalizations during her college years and in medical school. Her eventual success in conquering her disability and attaining her goal of becoming a physician evokes a sense of exhilaration. Unlike North's book, which is clearly focused, When Rabbit Howls is disconnected, disjointed, fragmented. Written while undergoing psychotherapy by a woman who had been severely abused sexually as a child, the book shows us scores of personalities who do not even recognize that they dwell in one body. Amazingly, the woman who sought therapy was not considered abnormal by her close friends. Phillips, the treating psychotherapist, believes that many sexually abused children develop multiple personalities as a defense mechanism. The emergence of individuals with names like Miss Wonderful, Outrider, Nails, Tunnel, and Mean Joe, who submerge themselves so that only one image is publicly presented, makes for fascinating, provocative reading. Carol R. Glatt, New Jersey Bioethics Commission, Trenton

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Vampire's Assistant and Other Tales from the Cirque Du Freak (The Saga of Darren Shan) by Darren Shan


The Vampire Assistant is good enough but not good enough to re-read or read the sequel.

It is LONG and not necessarily entertaining. The storyline can become tiresome and repetitive had it not been for the like ability of the main character this book would have been left unread.

Don't purchase this, check it out from the library or borrow it. Better yet if there is something else you are interesting in reading, read that first. I wish I had, it was a waste of time and energy.


Grade: D




Synopsis
Darren Shan is just an ordinary schoolboy who loves to ride bikes and hang out with his three best friends. Then one day Darren and his friends stumble across an invitation to visit the Cirque Du Freak, a strange and mysterious freak show. Almost as if by destiny, Darren wins a ticket and what follows is his horrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires. This is Darren's story.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chalked Up by Jennifer Sey


Sey gives us a honest look into the challenging, competitive life of women's elite gymnastics and I think it just touches the surface.

This first hand account is riveting and honest. Sey talks about the verbal and emotional abuse that coaches put upon these talented young men and women and about their quest so stay "thin" even if it means eating little to nothing and abusing laxatives.

Jennifer's memoir is extraordinary and takes you on a journey and quest to find peace with oneself despite feeling like a failure regardless of successes.

Chalked up is well written and will change the way you look at elite gymnastics in the future.



Grade: A



<>>Synopsis (B&N)
The true story of the 1986 U.S. National Gymnastics champion whose lifelong dream was to compete in the Olympics, until anorexia, injuries, and coaching abuses nearly destroyed her
Fanciful dreams of gold medals and Nadia Comaneci led Jennifer Sey to become a gymnast at the age of six. She was a natural at the sport, and her early success propelled her family to sacrifice everything to help her become, by age eleven, one of America’s elite, competing at prestigious events worldwide alongside such future gymnastics’ luminaries as Mary Lou Retton.
But as she set her sights higher and higher—the senior national team, the World Championships, the 1988 Olympics—Sey began to change, putting her needs, her health, and her well-being aside in the name of winning. And the adults in her life refused to notice her downward spiral.
In Chalked Up Sey reveals the tarnish behind her gold medals. A powerful portrait of intensity and drive, eating disorders and stage parents, abusive coaches and manipulative businessmen, denial and the seduction of success, it is the story of a young girl whose dreams would become eclipsed by the adults around her. As she recounts her experiences, Sey sheds light on the destructiveness of our winning-is-everything culture where underage and underweight girls are celebrated and on the need for balance in children’s lives.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike


Thrist No.1 is composed of three books into one, The Last Vampire, Black Blood, and Red Dice .


This book keeps you interested enough to finish it.


There is a lot of action, the stories are a bit unique but the characters don't really draw you in and attract you. You don't get " lost" in this book.


Pike knows how to tell a good story but a few less words would make it more thrilling.


Overall it is an ok book.



Grade: A





Synopsis (B&N)
As to blood — ah, blood, the whole subject fascinates me. I do like that as well, warm and dripping, when I am thirsty. And I am often thirsty....
Alisa has been in control of her urges for the five thousand years she has been a vampire. She feeds but does not kill, and she lives her life on the fringe to maintain her secret. But when her creator returns to hunt her, she must break her own rules in order to survive.
Her quest leads her to Ray. He is the only person who can help her; he also has every reason to fear her. Alisa must get closer to him to ensure her immortality. But as she begins to fall in love with Ray, suddenly there is more at stake than her own life....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Skinned by Robin Wasserman


Skinned is an exciting start in the new gripping trilogy series by Wasserman and it is unlike any of her other books.


The concept is novel and you are quickly pulled into the story. Wasserman has created an intriguing and interesting realistic, futuristic world.


An engaging and thought-provoking novel, that is an easy and fast read.



Grade: B+




Synopsis (B&N)
Lia Kahn was perfect: rich, beautiful, popular — until the accident that nearly killed her. Now she has been downloaded into a new body that only looks human. Lia will never feel pain again, she will never age, and she can't ever truly die. But she is also rejected by her friends, betrayed by her boyfriend, and alienated from her old life.
Forced to the fringes of society, Lia joins others like her. But they are looked at as freaks. They are hated...and feared. They are everything but human, and according to most people, this is the ultimate crime — for which they must pay the ultimate price.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Killer (Pretty Little Liars #6) by Sara Shepard




Killer is the latest installment and book six in the Pretty Little Liars series and Shepard does not disappoint!


It is possibly the best book in the series, with a jaw dropping ending leaving you craving more. Be prepared to read this novel in one sitting. Sit back and dive in. It is suspenseful, surprising and thrilling.



Grade: A




Synopsis (B&N)
In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystals. But pictures often lie—and so do Rosewood's four prettiest girls.
Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily have been lying ever since they became friends with beautiful Alison DiLaurentis. Ali made them do terrible things—things they had to keep secret for years. And even though Ali was killed at the end of seventh grade, their bad-girl ways didn't die with her.
Hanna's on a mission to corrupt Rosewood's youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria's snooping into her boyfriend's past. Spencer's stealing—from her family. And pure little Emily's abstaining from abstinence.
The girls should be careful, though. They thought they were safe when Ali's killer was arrested and A's true identity was finally revealed. But now there's a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Goldie: A Lotus Grows in the Mud by Goldie Hawn


Goldie: A Lotus Grows in the Mud is an okay read. You really don't get the insight from her memoir like you do from that of other celebrities however Goldie tends to keep her life very private from the public which I have to commend.

Her book is more inspiring and about life lessons learned. She writes and focuses more on the positive than the negative which is a fresh breath of air.

She can be a bit long winded at times and you want the passage you are reading to end quickly but when she tells a story is a damn good one. The book does need to be about 150 pages shorter because it can become trite at times.

Goldie shows that she is just like us. She grieves when her parents pass, she strives to improve herself and build healthy relationships with people she loves. She makes mistakes and is honest about them.

This book is about experiences in her life and not about controversy. You won't find her bad mouthing other celebrities, ex's or other people in her life.

An interesting book that is worth the read.


Grade: B-


Synopsis (B&N)
Goldie Hawn's life is an ongoing tableau of stories, and she has a born knack for telling them. In this candid and insightful book, Goldie invites us to join her in a look back at the people, places, and events that have touched her. It is the spiritual journey of a heart in search of enlightenment.With her trademark effervescent humor, Goldie tells us about the lessons she's learned and the wisdom she feels she's been given in the hope of giving something back. Not a Hollywood "tell-all," A Lotus Grows in the Mud is a very personal look at moments private and powerful: her delight in her father's spirited spontaneity; the confidence instilled in her by her mother; the unexpected gifts of comfort from strangers many miles from home; and the joy of being a daughter, a sister, a lover, and a parent. This memoir is Goldie's chance to talk about everything from anger and fear to love, compassion, integrity, and friendship, to the importance of family and the challenges of show business.Goldie writes about her younger self -- the little girl who felt like an ugly duckling -- and growing up in suburbia dreaming of becoming a ballerina. She takes us on a tour of her go-go dancing years in New York in the sixties, her phenomenal success on TV's Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and then on to the world of Hollywood stardom and such memorable films as the Oscar-winning Cactus Flower, Swing Shift, and Private Benjamin.A Lotus Grows in the Mud speaks of her relationship with her family -- her partner, Kurt Russell; her children, Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson, Wyatt Russell, and her stepson, Boston Russell -- her growing faith, her curiosity for that which she doesn't yet know, and her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and understanding. Most of all, it is a trip back through a life well lived by a woman well loved.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dead Is the New Black by Marlene Perez


Dead is the New Black is a really cute book. The main character is lovable and the others grown on you.

This is book one in this fun paranormal series that will easily be devoured. This book is easy to read and follow.

This small book can easily be read in one sitting and keep you fully entertained. An excellent choice for young readers.

If your child is too young to read Twilight, this one is a good substitute.



Grade: A-




Synopsis:


From the Publisher
Welcome to Nightshade, California—a small town full of secrets. It’s home to the pyschic Giordano sisters, who have a way of getting mixed up in mysteries. During their investigations, they run across everything from pom-pom-shaking vampires to shape-shifting boyfriends to a clue-spewing jukebox. With their psychic powers and some sisterly support, they can crack any case! Teenage girls are being mysteriously attacked all over town, including at Nightshade High School, where Daisy Giordano is a junior. When Daisy discovers that a vampire may be the culprit, she can’t help but suspect head cheerleader Samantha Devereaux, who returned from summer break with a new “look.” Samantha appears a little . . . well, dead, and all the most popular kids at school are copying her style. Is looking dead just another fashion trend for Samantha, or is there something more sinister going on? To find out, Daisy joins the cheerleading squad.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

AIDS in America by Susan Hunter, Alan Cumming, and Donald Trump


Aids in America gives shocking yet frightening statistics on how and where our society is headed.

We also get to read life altering stories of those suffering from HIV and how it has impacted their lives and their families lives.

Hunter explains and gives information on how the Bush administration and abstinence only teaching has essentially set us back years when it comes to curtailing the HIV epidemic.

You will be outraged, angry, disappointed and shocked at how the very people in American that should be protecting are causing more harm then good to individuals who have HIV and those who will get it.

If you are an uber christian or hard core republican you might be offended by what is this book but it speaks the truth loud and clear. I know this because my degree is in Community Health and I did extensive studies on HIV, STDS and infectious diseases.

Be prepared to get a tiny and scary glimpse at where out society is headed and keep in mind that there are undeveloped countries that have their HIV epidemic in better control than here in America due to bureaucratic bullsh*t.

This book might just push you to cry out for a change in the way we treat our fellow citizens who are infected. Some innocently and some by bad choices, bad choices you may have made but were lucky enough to come out unscathed or are you?

Please, if you haven't yet, I plead with you to find out your HIV status and take responsible measures to protect yourself and others.



Grade: A

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown


The Lost Symbol is a let down but to be fair "The Da Vinci Code" is an impossible act to follow.


The Lost Symbol doesn't have the same energy, excitement and entertaining values as Browns other novels. The plot is expected and follows the same along the same lines as, "The Da Vinci Code" and Angels and Demon's. There are LOTS of details that can bog you down but when you get past them and down to the actual story line it is decent.


There are some very intense moments and revelations that make this book worth the read.


Don't expect too much and you don't be disappointed.


ps. The ending is anticlimactic!





Grade: B-/C+




Synopsis (B&N)
In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling -- a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths . . . all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object -- artfully encoded with five symbols -- is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation . . . one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon -- a prominent Mason and philanthropist -- is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations -- all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Acceptance by Susan Coll


Acceptance is just ok. There are way too many characters which at time can bog you down. There is just too much going and and too little dialogue.


I couldn't want to be done with this book but it wasn't so horrible I couldn't finish it. Check it out from the library or borrow it don't purchase it.



Grade: D





Synopsis

Publishers Weekly
Coll (karlmarx.com; Rockville Pike) sends up college admissions in an overstuffed social comedy. The novel tracks three juniors-going-on-seniors as they and their families run the gauntlet of SATs, admissions essays, campus tours and rejection letters. It begins with AP Harry (named for the large number of advanced placement courses he takes) and his mother visiting Yates College, a ramshackle school enjoying popularity after U.S. News & World Report erroneously put it on its list of top schools. Also on campus are Harry's classmates Maya Kaluantharana, who'd rather swim laps than prowl library stacks, and Taylor Rockefeller, whose sole criterion for a college is having a private bathroom in her dorm room. As the months tick by and the students wait for acceptance letters, the book meanders through career maneuvering and faculty bed-hopping at Yates, a lawsuit brought against Yates, Harry's obsession with Harvard and Taylor's mother realizing the cause of her daughter's ambivalence toward college. The narrative is heavily peppered with contemporary miscellany (Hurricane Katrina, echoes of the Larry Summers controversy, Facebook, disputes about the SAT's importance), though the mentions often seem like afterthoughts. The surfeit of characters and narrative side trips creates a few pacing logjams, but Coll's deadpan wit and sympathy for her characters are more than redeeming. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

I read The Dead-Tossed Waves back in October of 2010. The link to that blog post is  HERE . I can honestly say that this time around I enj...