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Saturday, January 31, 2009

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover...Or Can You?

For this week's covers it's a Jen Calonita double feature.


Secrets of My Hollywood Life: Paparazzi Princess

I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Secrets of My Hollywood Life, and all of the other books that followed. I can't wait for Paparazzi Princess to be released. The great thing about these books is that unlike other series about teens in Hollywood, Calonita always finds a fresh take on the story that keeps the books interesting. None of the books are ever like another and Kaitlin's experiences never seem repetitive.

Release: March 1, 2009

Synopsis: As the last season of Family Affair comes to a close, prime-time teen star Kaitlin Burke is no closer to deciding what she wants to do after the show ends. Struggling with careerchoices and bummed over a ridiculous catfight with her BFF, Liz, Kaitlin is so mixed up she even starts to semi-bond with her archnemesis, Sky. Worst of all, she falls in with two of Hollywood's biggest party fiends when one of them asks her, "Don't you ever do what you want to do?" Shopping sprees and the Tinseltown nightlife seems fun at first, but soon Kaitlin realizes that being a paparazzi princess just might be her downfall.


Cover: I'd have to say that other than the second book, Secrets of My Hollywood Life: On Location, this is my favorite cover in the series. I've always liked how the books' covers look like journals or luggage and the patterns are always fabulous.




Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita

Calonita's new book may not be like her first series, but it sounds like an interesting story. And with Calonita writing it's sure to be just as good.

Release: May 1, 2009

Synopsis: When Sam's best friend gets her first boyfriend, she's not ready to spend the summer listening to the two of them call each other "pookie." Sick of being a third wheel, Sam applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not going to be all Kumbaya sing-alongs and gooey s'mores. If Ashley, the alpha queen of Whispering Pines, doesn't ruin Sam's summer, then her raging crush on the surfer-blond and flirtatious Hunter just might. At least she has playful Cole, who's always teasing her, but is oh-so-comfortable to hang out with, and the singular gang of girls that become fast friends with Sam-they call themselves the Sleepaway Girls.

Cover: The cover for Sleepaway Girls is not eye catching in the same way as the Secrets covers, it's unique in it's own way. The colors, converse and luggage all give the cover a bit of a retro feel that catches your attention.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Deadly Little Secrets

Some secrets shouldn't be kept...

Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. She's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help--but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

This was one of those books that I’ve seen at the bookstore, but never considered reading. That is, until I read what it was about. I’m a fan of mysteries so as soon as I saw it was a mystery book I knew I had to read it. Once I started reading though I wasn’t so sure about that, the book was nothing like what I expected.

The whole book was supposed to be about Camelia’s relationship with Ben and the danger that came with it. However the book had nearly nothing to do with Ben. Sure he was a part of the story and played a role in the climax, but her relationship with Ben had hardly anything to do with the actual plot. In fact, she barely even had a relationship with him.

Another thing that bothered me about the book was her friends, Kimmie and Wes. For people who are supposed to be her friends they sure don’t act like it. When Camelia tells Kimmie about the calls and letters she’s been receiving Kimmie just ignores her and shrugs it off, thinking more about boys than the danger to her best friend’s life. Even after she believes that Camelia is in danger she still acts as if Camelia’s crazy every time she mentions it and complains that Camelia’s not being a good friend. I mean, hello, your friend’s life is in danger, sorry if she doesn’t have time to worry about your dad’s mid-life crisis.

Even with these minor problems in the story, I still enjoyed Deadly Little Secret.

What made this book great, and scary, was the chilling stalker notes. While there were only a few it was enough to have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. The sinister tone of the notes carried on throughout the whole book, making it nearly impossible to put down.

The large cast of male characters was another plus. Stolarz’s characters are all a bit peculiar. From accused murder Ben to Camelia’s strange boss, Spencer, the entire male cast has you guessing towards who could be Camelia’s stalker. There was never a moment when I was 100% sure of whom I thought the stalker was. Every character seemed to have something about him that could make them the stalker. One minute I’d think it was one person and the next a strange run in with another character would have me guessing towards someone else.

While this book may not be exactly what it sounds like, it’s definitely a fun read.

3 Stars!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Parties and Potions

Synopsis (Courtesy of Amazon.com):
Perfect hair, cute clothes, healthy tans—life’s a breeze when you’re a witch! Even special witchcraft classes Rachel agrees to attend with Miri turn out to be fun. The sisters meet other teen witches just like them—who knew? Everyone’s preparing for a magical party called a Samsorta—a debutante ball for witches. And it wouldn’t be a ball without warlocks. Cute ones. Like Adam, who wants to slow dance with Rachel, and ski with her in the Rockies—on a school night! Of course, Rachel is madly in love with her boyfriend, Raf. So why can’t she bring herself to tell Adam—funny, charming Adam—that Raf exists?Rachel knows Raf likes her. Maybe even, gulp, loves her. But Raf doesn’t know her secret. Unlike Adam, Raf doesn’t know who she really is. And she can never tell him. Or can she?

Review: Reading Parties and Potions rather like reading Rachel’s journal. The events of the story were summed up in quick blurbs with little to no detail. When Rachel wasn’t giving quick accounts of the events in her life she was rambling incisively about nothing in particular, doing nothing but filling up space and losing the readers interest. While the Samsorta, a coming out party for witches, is supposed to be marking a transition from girl to woman, it seems that Rachel is aging backwards. Throughout the book she proves to be shallow and superficial, worrying only about her looks and is constantly day dreaming about childish fantasies. I understand that Rachel is supposed to be the fun loving girl who doesn’t worry about the consequences of her magic, she thinks only about the immediate gratification, as many teens do. Having a character that is a little immature is great, it gives the book humor and fun, however the character should also have some substance, something that Rachel seems to lack in this book.
In addition to the weak characters the plot of the book is seemingly nonexistent for a good portion of the novel. Rachel is simply flitting around with Raf and her friends, using magic whenever she sees fit. The Samsorta part of the book, as well as her budding relationship with magical hottie Adam can be summed up in less than twenty pages. While I don’t find having a clear plot incredibly important, it is important that there is a bit of plot.
Don’t be discouraged though, the great thing about these books is the ability for the story to turnaround in an instant. No matter how tiresome the first part of the book is Mlynowski can recapture the reader’s attention and hold it for the remainder of the novel.
The first three books of the Magic in Manhattan series were terrific, fun to read and easy to enjoy. Parties and Potions however, was a disappointment. I would of like to see Rachel grow more, but instead she is the same careless girl she was at the beginning of the series. Even with the disappointment of the newest book I’d still recommend reading the series, as the books still hold a special place as one of my favorite series.

3.5 Stars!

Monday, January 12, 2009

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover...Or Can You?

Goose Girl, Enna Burning and River Secrets by Shannon Hale
My friend recommended Goose Girl for me a few years back and I absolutely loved it. Since then I've read the other two Books of Bayern, Enna Burning and River Secrets.

Covers: My copy of the books are the original covers and, at the time, I liked them a lot. The paintings are beautiful and reflects the traditional feel to the book, but with a modern flair, the orange and yellow color scheme.


Goose Girl, Enna Burning and River Secrets by Shannon Hale
Covers: As I said before I really liked the original cover, so when I heard they were remaking the books I was disappointed. However after seeing them I'm glad they redid the covers. The paintings were nice but the new cover art is a lot more eye catching and just as beautiful as the originals. They catch the spirit of the books so much better. My favorite of them all would have to be the Goose Girl cover though, the green ivy with Isi in the center, dressed in white, is breathtaking.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In My Mailbox

Faketastic by Alexa Young
Synopsis (Courtesy of Amazon.com):
"From besties to worsties and back again . . .
Team Avalon:
For Avalon, staying on top of trends has never been a problem—until her fellow cheerleaders decide that her BFF Halley is definitely out this season. Now Avalon must choose between the frenemy who embarrassed her in front of everyone or the new friends who stood by her.
vs.
Team Halley:
Halley thinks she's got it all: her forever-friend Avalon, her new bestie Sofee, and the hottest fall wardrobe at Seaview Middle School. Her life is a total YES. But when Sofee spies Avalon flirting with Halley's crush, will it be World War Halvalon all over again?"


When I found out I won Alexa's contest for a signed copy of Faketastic I was super excited. I really liked the first Frenemies book and am looking forward to seeing what crazy antics Halley and Avalon are up to this time, it's sure to be good.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Top Books of 2008

With 2009 getting well under way I thought I'd take a look back on my favorite reads of 2008. There were so many great books that I was able to read, but here are the top ten:

1. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Okay, this book just makes the list because technically I didn't really read the book in 2008. I was reading it over New Years Eve and finished it on January 1st. Which makes it a 2008 book in my mind, that and the fact that I loved the book so much I couldn't imagine not including it on the list.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I'd heard a lot about this book from authors and other bloggers but I never thought about reading it. Luckily my friend told me to read it or else I may have never found out how great it was. The book is full of action and adventure and never looses your attention.

3. Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe

The first book, Bad Kitty, was one of my favorites books of 2007 so, naturally, Kitty Kitty automatically became one of my favorites of 2008. Humor, mystery, rock star boyfriends, fashion, waky friends, evil cousins, homemade gadgets and, of course, cats. What more could you want in a book?

4. Samurai Girl series by Carrie Asai

These books came as a total surprise for me. I picked up the first book in the series, The Book of the Sword, on a whim since the TV version was coming out on ABC that month. Personally I thought that both the books and the TV show looked like a joke, but they both turned out to be amazing. Sometimes you find the best books when you least expect them.

5. Tattoo and Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

After reading The Squad I decided to read more of Barnes' books. Tattoo was the first I picked up and I found it fantastic. It was funny and imaginative like The Squad but with a supernatural twist, which in my opinion is always interesting. The sequel, Fate (coming out March 10), was just as great.

6. Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle

Another diamond in the rough, this book was a surprise hit. I have a weakness for historical fiction so I had to buy this book once I saw it. I didn't expect much more than a light, fun read. Magic meets the London Season? The perfect combination for fun. In addition to being fun though, it was also suspenseful and enthralling. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.


7. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

This was my first foray into Sarah Dessen, and a great one at that. The story was touching and the characters were easy to love. Out of all the Sarah Dessen books I've read this is my favorite.

8. Sleepless by Terri Clark

This book had me up reading late into the night. From the first page I was hooked and didn't put it down until the end. It's always nice when you find a great book that you can read in under five hours.

9. The Faerie Path: The Sorcerer King by Frewin Jones

This entire series was amazing, but as I read them in 2007 this is the only book of the three that qualifies for the 2008 list. Faeries, war, love and betrayal this book was a great read. I was so excited to hear that Jones decided to write another set of three books about Tania and her adventures in the faerie realm.

10. In or Out: Friends Close, Enemies Closer by Claudia Gabel

While the warring best friends idea may be common in YA, Gabel did a great job of portraying real friends. These aren't girls living in Beverly Hills who can plan elaborate schemes or throw thousand dollar parties to win the war. You could imagine yourself going to school with Nola and Marnie and can relate to their problems with friends, family and boys. Out of all the fueding friend books these are by far the best I've read.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Blogger?

Starting a new blog can be tough. There's layouts to make, backgrounds to decide on, getting readers' attention, and so much more.

I remember how hard it was when I first started out and I'd like to use the knowledge I gained to help out the new kids on the block. So if you're a new blogger and are feeling a little lost or just have a question, feel free to email me at chicklitteens@gmail.com.

Good luck with your blogs!

Chick Lit Teens
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