Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Summary (via Goodreads): "Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small Art Deco hotel in the heart of New York City. When each of the Martins turns fifteen, they are expected to take over the care of a suite. For Scarlett's fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite and a permanent guest named Mrs. Amberson. Scarlett doesn't quite know what to make of this C-list starlet and world traveler.

And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn.

Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery and romantic missteps. But in the city where anything can happen, she just might be able to pull it off."

Review: So my quest to read everything by Maureen Johnson continues.

Suite Scarlett is a SUPER cute book, with an awesome coming-of-age for Scarlett. I like these stories Johnson writes, about someone older and with fewer inhibitions taking someone younger under her wing. Scarlett's adventures at the hands of Mrs. Amberson are fun, enlightening, and make me totally jealous. Why can't I live in a hotel in New York and work on the play my older brother is in??

I also like how none of the characters are stereotypes. Well, Marlene could use a little more depth, I daresay, because right now all I think of her as is a demon-child, but I understand this is a trilogy. So there's time. (Although she does come through at the end. So there's that.) But I LOVE Lola. It would have been so easy to make Lola a total stock character of the Beautiful variety, but instead she's an actual PERSON who makes choices and gets fired and has bad days. And is awesome.

I will now be reading the rest of the trilogy.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, thought-provoking



Moneyball by Michael Lewis

Summary (via Goodreads): "Moneyball is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the front offices of major league teams and the dugouts, perhaps even in the minds of the players themselves. Lewis mines all these possibilities - his intimate and original portraits of big league ballplayers are alone worth the price of admission - but the real jackpot is a cache of numbers - numbers! - collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, and physics professors." "What these geek numbers show - no, prove - is that the traditional yardsticks of success for players and teams are fatally flawed. Even the box score misleads us by ignoring the crucial importance of the humble base on balls. This information has been around for years, and nobody inside Major League Baseball paid it any mind. And then came Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics." Billy paid attention to those numbers - with the second-lowest payroll in baseball at his disposal he had to - and this book records his astonishing experiment in finding and fielding a team that nobody else wanted. Moneyball is a roller coaster ride : before the 2002 season opens, Oakland must relinquish its three most prominent (and expensive) players, is written off by just about everyone, and comes roaring back to challenge the American League record for consecutive wins."

Review: FASCINATING stuff. I read this book because my husband asked me to, in honor of the movie's release (today, in fact). I finished it in a week, which is impressive considering that I just started a new job, can't read after 6 or so (when it gets too dark to read - the lighting in my apartment is WAY crappy), and am pretty addicted to Netflix.

The way Billy Beane is portrayed is really interesting - he's not necessarily a genius, he's just frustrated with a system that doesn't seem to be working. At all. So he finds a way, not to overhaul the system, but to take advantage of the problems with it to create a winning baseball team. Which I love. The metaphor keeps getting thrown out that he's counting cards at the blackjack table, and Lewis drives home that metaphor.

Overall, fascinating story. Well told.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, i-feel-so-smart-now, nook-adult, read, thought-provoking


Oh, and here's the trailer for the movie. You're welcome.


Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Summary: "At sixteen Anne is grown up. . . almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else's romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behavior of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone."

Review: Cute, y'all. The Anne-girl's antics continue... Anne is growing up in this book, and I find I'm pretty ok with it. She's still cute and spunky, but she's also graceful and adored by children everywhere.

One of my issues, I guess, is that the book is REALLY episodic. Which, admittedly, is how life is. But there weren't really any huge overarching storylines, I thought. Things happened, and then life went back to normal, and then other things happened. And life went back to normal again.

Also, I REALLY wish some of these characters had made it into the movie. Mr. Harrison and the twins, to be specific. Paul Irving I can take or leave, but DAVY! WHERE WAS DAVY.

Goodreads Shelves: my-kind-of-woman, nook-classics, bechdel-test, addictive, fluffy, is-a-movie, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book



Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Summary: "Everyone's favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over."

Review: I had forgotten how cute a book this was, and how fast a read. I... like that the movie combines so much of it. Most of the stories from the book are in the movie, but they put them together, so that like three things happen at once. And I'm pretty ok with it.

Anne is spunky and cute, and I really like L.M. Montgomery's writing style. So, that was fun. :)

Goodreads Shelves: is-a-movie, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, thought-provoking, addictive, my-kind-of-woman, nook-lend-me, nook-classics, bechdel-test



The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Summary (via the author's website): "The strong-willed queens of Attolia and Eddis maneuver for power and to protect their lands in this fast-paced sequel to the stellar Newbery Honor Book The Thief. Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, has always been able to break into any locked room or guarded palace to spy for this queen, but as this novel opens, the gods turn against him. The Queen of Attolia seems to have ruined his life, yet a plot twist sets the obvious on its head and leads to an unexpected conclusion. Scheming, spying, thieving, and fighting fill the pages of this cleverly plotted, enjoyable tale."

Review: "Does anyone remember that thing about in Graceling? About Leck? No reason...
Anyway, um, HOLY character development. Am I in love with Eugenides? No, because I think he's a little (maybe a lot?) too young for me. But if I were 16, I sure would be."

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, nook-ya


My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me by Hilary Winston

Summary (via the author's website): "Just when Hilary Winston is finally getting her life together she finds out her ex-boyfriend wrote an unflattering novel about her, referring to her as the "fat-assed girlfriend." This sends her into a downward spiral that's sometimes hilarious, and other times heartbreaking, causing her to question that almost-five-year relationship - as well as every relationship she's had before and after it. Now Hilary reveals her dirty laundry in a laugh-out-loud, non-fiction book written for every woman who's ever been dumped."

Review: This book got three stars. I would have given it four, but it was a little too ...raunchy? ...irreverent? ...for my taste. I was a little unsettled and fascinated by that aspect of it. I wouldn't really recommend it to many of my friends, and I kind of hope that if anyone I know read it, they wouldn't think of me.

It was a very (VERY) honest book, which is a big point that she makes early in the book. THIS book is real. It's NON fiction. The book that Kyle wrote is in the fiction section, which upsets Hilary because she know that he didn't make it all up. Kyle's book takes real things and puts them in a (mostly) fictional story, while Hilary's book does its best to be completely honest.

Well said, Hilary. And the fact that you write for Community makes me like you that much more.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-adult



Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell

Summary (via the author's website): "When newly single Tilly Cole impulsively quits her London job for a fresh start in the small town of Roxborough she finds she's arrived in a hotbed of gossip, intrigue and rampant rivalry for the most desirable men. Tilly has no intention of joining in – she's just happy with her new Girl Friday job.

Then she meets Jack Lucas.

Jack is irresistible… and he's got his eye on Tilly. But there are shocking rumours about his wicked reputation. Tilly doesn’t want to be just another notch on anyone's bedpost. But is she being mature and sensible – or is she running away from the love of her life?"

Review: This was a fun book. I liked the characters a lot, although I noticed something in this book especially that bothered me.

The man always realizes early on that he's super into/in love with the girl, then spends the rest of the book either waiting for or convincing her to come around. Do guys really do that?

Anyway, it was a smart read, and I liked it a lot. I'm gonna take a break from Jill Mansell (four in a row is a little much for me), but I'll definitely be back to read the rest.

 Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-adult 



Miranda's Big Mistake by Jill Mansell

Summary (via the author's website): "Miranda is thrilled when she meets Greg at a cocktail party. He's gorgeous, he's funny - and he's very keen. Just what a girl needs to put some sparkle in her life. Heavens, he's practically perfect! Greg likes Miranda a lot. She's young, she's pretty, and she never talks about babies. Of course he hasn't told her everything about himself - even the sweetest girls can be a bit funny about a man who's just left his newly pregnant wife. But there's no way she's going to find out - or is there?

Luckily for Miranda men are like buses - you don't see any for ages then three come along at once. She just needs to catch the right one..."

Review: I feel like these books are getting progressively less funny as I read them. And the main characters are getting less likeable. I mean, Miranda's fine. But I don't really like her all that much. I think she was supposed to be... like, quirky and whimsical, but she mostly just came across as kind of weird and slightly obnoxious.

And my favorite relationship wasn't the one she ended up with, either. It was bachelor number 2, actually. Even though that circumstance was completely contrived... Seriously? Out of nowhere you just decide that this random girl you met weeks ago, once, is the girl of your dreams?

All that aside, it was cute enough. The side characters were fun.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, nook-adult



The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Summary (via the author's website): "Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated-and with it, order-and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.

The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder-does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?"

Review: I'm gonna say something that goes against certain principles I have. But... I really could have done without the kissing stuff. Like, all of it.

I know, right? I'm usually so in favor! But I honestly think I could have done without it.

It's fine, in and of itself. And taking it out would have changed some of the themes of the book, so it's fine where it is.

But as a book, I felt some of the kissing stuff weakened it a little. Like, not enough survival and fighting for your life. Too much taking a break for kissing.

Other than that, awesome book. Lots of nail-biting and intrigue. Love it.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, thought-provoking



The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

Summary (via goodreads): "Finley Jayne knows she's not 'normal'. Normal girls don't lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she's offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined…"

Review: Ok, novella. So not much of a plot, not much of character development, and not much of anything, really. Because it's a novella. So here's what it had:

-World-building. The characters went to a couple parties, they went out shopping, and they went out to socialize and be seen a little bit. And everywhere they went, the steampunk world was described and lived in, to give me as a first-time reader of this series (the first book is out already, yes?) a feel for what it's like to live there. It was a huge priority, thrown in at every possible moment, yet it wasn't pushy or clunky; it was just world-building, in a big way.

-Finley. So I looked at this novella as kind of an advertisement for the rest of the series (why else would you give away a prequel novella as a free ebook?), and because it doesn't seem to me like Phoebe or Lady Morton are in the next book (but I could easily be wrong), I as a reader really needed to like Finley. So she (obviously) took center stage. I liked her well enough; she seems sensible, and also willing to admit when she's wrong, while at the same time slightly schizophrenic. (I was SO glad that even though there was that whole "weaker side being asleep thing," that she still remembered her excursion in the middle of the night. Memory loss would have made that WAY too Jekyll and Hyde for me.)

I may or may not read the real books in this series; we'll see if they cross my path or not.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, my-kind-of-woman, nook-ya



Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell

Summary (via the author's website): "Poppy Dunbar is out on her hen night when she meets Tom Kennedy. With his dark eyes and quirky smile, he could lure any girl off the straight and narrow, but what really draws Poppy to him is the feeling that she’s known him all her life. She can’t go through with the meeting they arrange – but she can’t go through with the wedding either. Suddenly notorious as ‘The Girl Who Jilted Rob Macbride’, Poppy moves to London. Soon she’s installed in the bohemian household of Caspar French, a ravishingly good-looking young artist with a reputation for breaking hearts. But even in her colourful new home, Poppy can’t get Tom off her mind. Until she’s tracked him down, she’ll never know if their meeting was destiny – or if the future holds something entirely different for her…"

Review: So... super predictable, and less funny than Millie's Fling. But still riveting, so that's good. 

The main romance was pretty believable (except for the very end... um, seriously?), and the peripheral one was, too, although it was slightly cliche.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-adult 



Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell

Summary (via Goodreads): "Bestselling novelist Orla Hart owes her life to her friend Millie Brady, whose rotten boyfriend has just left her. So Orla invites Millie to Cornwall, where Millie looks forward to a summer without any dating whatsoever. But Orla envisions Millie as the heroine of her next novel and decides to find Millie the man of her dreams. Except the two women have drastically different ideas about what kind of guy that should be.

With Orla and Millie working at cross-purposes, and a dashing but bewildered hero stuck in the middle, the summer will turn out to be unforgettable for all concerned..."

Review: Fer cute! In fact, this book was stinkin' cute.
Predictable, maybe. Maybe a little. But the people actually had personalities! They totally did! The banter was actually WITTY - hallelujah!

I was slightly surprised - my favorite character turned out to be Lucas. And Con. :)

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-adult


Boston Jane: The Claim by Jennifer Holm

Summary (via the author's website): "With a mind of her own and a handsome suitor who loves her for it, seventeen-year-old Jane Peck is the darling of the Washington Territory. She's outwitted wild animals, vengeful ghosts, and a disloyal fiancé, but when her finishing school nemesis Sally Biddle invades Shoalwater Bay, Jane discovers that the most dangerous thing on the frontier may be an impeccably dressed debutante. As the Biddles of Philadelphia charm their way into Jane's close-knit community, she finds everything she holds dear threatened -- including her true love, a rakish sailor named Jehu. Will Jane's claim on happiness slip away?

This third book of the richly historical Boston Jane trilogy carries on the tradition of rip-roaring romance and adventure that began with Boston Jane: An Adventure and Boston Jane: Wilderness Days. Jane has survived the wilderness and claimed herself a home, but her frontier trials are far from over. It will take all of the spunk and spit Jane can muster to protect her land and preserve her dreams."

Review: I liked the role reversal. In Wilderness Days, Jane wouldn't believe the people around her who knew better and kept trying to warn her and give her advice. But in The Claim, Jane actually knows better than the people who won't believe her. It made me sad and frustrated, to see her so helpless and with so few options, but I love that she stayed strong and spunky.

I feel like she was more mature in this book, which I love. It makes sense to me that she would have done a lot of growing up in the last year(?) or so, since she's all alone and stuff.

I hope that Sally Biddle (aka Nellie Olson... anyone?) becomes a nice person some day. She's the kind of person who should use her powers for good, not evil.

Good, strong ending to an awesome series. I wish there were more. :)

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman



How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle

Summary (via goodreads): "Vicks is the wild child whose boyfriend has gone suspiciously quiet since he left for college; Mel is the newcomer desperate to be liked; and Jesse will do anything to avoid a life-altering secret. Each one has her own reason for wanting to get the heck out of their nowheresville town, even just for the weekend. So they climb into Jesse's mom's "borrowed" station wagon and head south.

Hearts will be broken, friendships will be tested, and a ridiculously hot stranger could change the course of everything."

Review: I've been trying to find this book ever since I decided to read all of E. Lockhart's teen books. (Which I now have.) And it's funny, because one week I find it sitting there at the library, and the NEXT week the NookBook shows up for 1.99! (That promotion might still be going on, by the way. Go look.) So... it's pretty much fate.

I REALLY liked this book. The emotions and the characters were super real, including the misunderstanding about trying to hook up with a guy while drunk, not knowing why her boyfriend didn't call, and putting on a show instead of telling everyone what's wrong.

It was interesting knowing Jesse's secret before the other girls, who didn't find out until the end.

I liked when Mel started playing the Be Assertive card, because until then she was in danger of falling into Little Sister territory.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-ya, thought-provoking



Boston Jane: Wilderness Days by Jennifer L. Holm

Summary (via the author's website): "Abandoned on the frontier by her faithless fiancé, Jane Peck prepares to head home, only to learn that the Philadelphia life she once knew is no more. But can a proper young lady find happiness as the only woman in a primitive pioneer settlement? Armed with only a finishing-school education and her natural determination, Jane must endure life with her flea-bitten landlord, a perilous manhunt, and the traps and hazards of a blossoming romance.

Will Jane survive the challenges of the wild, uncharted frontiers of friendship, love, and the Washington Territory?"

Review: So... I take issue with people in books not seeing things that are obvious to me. But maybe I'm being unreasonable. So let's look at this in bullet-point fashion.-I understood from early in book 1 that Jane's father was dying. But maybe Jane was too wrapped up in herself to see the glaringly obvious clues that I saw.
-Also, there wasn't a super convenient time in book 1 to introduce that information to Jane, something that... kind of bothers me.
-But it WAS a plot point in book 2 (kind of a big one, actually), so it's good that she got the letter in book 2.
-Is the death of Mr. Peck supposed to be a huge surprise to the reader? I'm inclined to say no.

Ok, now I've worked through that. Thanks for bearing with me, everyone.

The other thing I take issue with is the mid-book, "I LOVE him! I just never realized it until now!" Except it's more of a "Hey, everyone doesn't hate me! I just never realized it until now!" Also, until Jehu pointed it out, I didn't realize Jane complained so much. But she does, and that kind of got on my nerves.

Sidenote that has nothing to do with anything: I keep pronouncing it "Jeju," because "Jehu" just doesn't work for my mind. Jeju Island, if you were wondering, is an island in South Korea.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman



Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Summary (via the author's website): "In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.

In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges readers' ideas about life -- not just where life begins, and where it ends, but what it truly means to be alive."

What I liked:
-He drove the "how to resolve the abortion debate" issue to it's scariest possible conclusion - which is how good dystopia is often created (The Hunger Games, for instance, does that with reality TV).
-All the people willing to help the Unwinds - even in a dark book, Shusterman still holds out hope for humanity. The future may be stormy, but at least there's a little sunshine here and there.
-It's always fun to get inside the heads of kids who are so-called "troublemakers."
-Those kids were really smart. Love it.

What I didn't like:
-Connor's transformation from "can't stay out of fights" to having amazing self control happened a little fast, for my taste.
-Lev's deprogramming/reprogramming was fast, too... especially since he's 13.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, thought-provoking



Four to Score by Janet Evanovich

Summary (via the author's website): "Working for her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, Stephanie is hot on the trail of revenge-seeking waitress Maxine Nowicki, whose crimes include bail jumping, theft, and extortion. Someone is terrifying Maxine's friends, and those who have seen her are turning up dead. Also on the hunt for Maxine is Joyce Barnhardt, Stephanie's archenemy and rival bounty hunter. Stephanie's attitude never wavers - even when aided by Grandma Mazur, ex-hooker and wannabe bounty hunter Lula, and transvestite rock musician Sally Sweet - and even when Stephanie makes an enemy whose deadly tactics escalate from threatening messages to firebombs. All of this pales in comparison, though, with an even greater danger Stephanie faces, when, homeless and broke, she and her hamster Rex move in with vice cop Joe Morelli."

Review: Not a lot to say on this one. Pretty funny. Light, breezy read. I might pick up a few more in the series... but I'm not sure. There was a lot of language.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-adult



Savvy by Ingrid Law

Summary (via the author's website): "Mibs Beaumont is about to become a teenager. As if that weren’t scary enough, thirteen is when a Beaumont’s savvy strikes--and with one brother who causes hurricanes and another who creates electricity, it promises to be outrageous... and positively thrilling.

But just before her big day, Poppa is in a terrible accident. Suddenly, Mibs’s dreams of X-ray vision disappear like a flash of her brother’s lightning: All she wants now is a savvy that will save Poppa. In fact, Mibs is so sure she’ll get that powerful savvy that she sneaks a ride to the hospital on a rickety bus, with her siblings and the preacher’s kids in tow. But when the bus starts heading in the wrong direction only one thing is certain: After this extraordinary adventure, not a soul on board will ever be the same."

Review: I admit it: I cried. In fact, I was on an airplane and I cried. The guy next to me must have thought I was seriously nuts, no joke. Because I really really cried.

Have you read Walk Two Moons? This book reminded me of it a lot. Mixed with, I dunno... X-men.

Although it almost fails the First-person narrator book test of "can I remember the main character's name." It's... Mibs. But I might forget that in a week or two.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, thought-provoking



Boston Jane by Jennifer Holm

Summary (via the author's website): "Sixteen-year-old Jane Peck has ventured to the unknown wilds of the Northwest to wed her childhood idol, William Baldt. But her impeccable training at Miss Hepplewhite's Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia is hardly preparation for the colorful characters and crude life that await her in Washington Territory.

Thrown upon her wits in the wild, Jane must determine for herself whether she is truly proper Miss Jane Peck of Philadelphia, faultless young lady and fiancée, or Boston Jane, as the Chinook dub her, fearless and loyal woman of the frontier."

Review: Fer cute! Jane is all sorts of awesome - love that.

I love that Jane actually has a personality - she's crazy stubborn, but always tries to do the right thing. I got kind of annoyed with her in the beginning, like everyone around her, but I also am totally on board with her goals to change herself (is that bad?). I like that she was able to take the gumption she needed and find someone to teach her about being polite and stuff - things she would have learned if she'd had a maternal influence in her life. I think her mother would have taught her about the compromises that come with all the etiquette she learned, though -- still speaking her mind to her father, but knowing how to act in company, as it were.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, thought-provoking



13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Summary (via the author's website): "Here’s the deal: Aunt Peg, the New York artist and the person Ginny Blackstone depended on to make her life interesting, took off to Europe without a word three years ago. Aside from a few postcards, Ginny hasn’t heard much. Then she gets a horrible phone call that changes everything.

But the story is only beginning. Soon after, Ginny receives one little blue envelope from Aunt Peg containing a thousand dollars and some very strange instructions…

And with that, she is sent off to pick up a package containing twelve similar envelopes, which she can open one by one, as instructed. Each letter contains a task that Ginny must perform.

Soon, the mild-mannered and quiet Ginny (who’s barely made it out of New Jersey before) finds herself running from London to Paris to Rome, and beyond. Along the way, she collects a number of new friends, including: a manager from Harrods department store who runs errands for the rich and famous, a handsome but maddening thief-turned-playwright, a celebrity painter who tattoos the names of her dead pets on her body, and the angriest vegetable salesman in all of France.

As time goes on, Ginny realizes that her aunt has sent her on a mission, and that there is something big waiting for her in the thirteenth envelope. All she has to do is make it from place to place and complete all of the tasks that have been set before her.

As if life is that easy."

Review: So now I understand why Maureen Johnson is considered one of the Queens of YA. And now I have to read all of her books.

What I liked:
-Seeing Ginny come out of herself and learn to do new things. She stayed true to her personality, so it was still realistic, but she managed to make some pretty exciting things happen in her life. And I liked that.
-Keith. He was a pretty cool dude.
-Aunt Peg's personality really came through the letters. You could understand what she was all about, some.
-Um, that whole Amsterdam thing was just funny.
-In fact, a lot of the book made me laugh.

What I didn't like:
-I... can't really think of anything. I'm trying to even think of a plot point that was predictable, and maybe it's just the fact that I'm SUPER-oblivious when I read, but I didn't really see any of it coming. So way to go, Maureen Johnson!

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-ya



Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Summary (via Goodreads): "17 year-old Kelley Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what she thinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelley's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.

Review: So there's a game I like to play, at movies. At the end of the movie, I like to announce how long the two love interests have known each other. For instance, at the end of this book, they've known each other for a week and a half.

Seriously?? And they're already, like, in LOVE? I guess that's what happens when you're 17...

Timing aside, their relationship was cute. Lesley Livingston kept him from being too Edward-ish, by pointing out his slightly creepy and stalker-like behavior -- to him, so he could change.

The plot was a little predictable, as is the nature of "Central Park is the gate to fairieland"-type books. But the only plot point that came as a genuine, "I expect the reader to be surprised about this, too" point was one I'd actually been guessing about. All the rest were hinted at to the point that the characters were surprised, but Livingston didn't necessarily expect the reader to be, too. So that was good.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman



His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

Summary (via Goodreads): "Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire."

Review: With this one, I'm gonna go with... Horatio Hornblower With Dragons.

I really liked Laurence. AND Temeraire. And the way they were together... so cute! Um... as it were. So, y'know. Manly.

I liked the way girls were treated in the story. You can tell it was written from a modern perspective, because there were female aviators and little girls were (runners? I forget what they're called...) around too. But I liked the paradigm shift that Laurence went through, when he had to learn to respect women as capable military officers, and not just coddle them like little dolls.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, my-kind-of-woman



The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan

Summary (via the author's website): "Jebel Rum is a thin, scrawny boy. His father is the famed executioner in the city where they live. When Jebel is humiliated in public, he sets off on a quest to gain great strength and invincibility. If successful, he will be able to compete in a gruelling contest to prove himself and replace his father as the wielder of the axe. Failure, on the other hands, means certain death."

Review: So... not so much. I mean, it was fine. But I wasn't really INTO it. Like, ever.

It took me like a week to get through the first two thirds. And then, because I was on a deadline, I started scanning. And the story was interesting, but I don't know if it was interesting because the story was finally interesting or because I was fast-forwarding it, as it were.

-Epic adventure story.
-Super-creepy villain.
-Morality tale.
-The pacing was what is often referred to as "deliberate."

-The main character spent most of the book as a whiny brat.
-I was kind of bored.
-Deliberate pacing can often feel slow.
-It's a fine line between foreshadowing and the main character being dense. I think this book crossed it.

Goodreads Shelves: fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, pretentious



Stork by Wendy Delsol

Summary (via Goodreads): "Family secrets. Lost memories. And the arrival of an ancient magical ability that will reveal everything.

Sixteen-year-old Katla LeBlanc has just moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, Katla soon finds out that she’s a Stork, a member of a mysterious order of women tasked with a very unique duty. But Katla’s biggest challenge may be finding her flock at a new school. Between being ignored by Wade, the arrogant jock she stupidly fooled around with, and constantly arguing with gorgeous farm boy and editor-in-chief Jack, Katla is relieved when her assignment as the school paper’s fashion columnist brings with it some much-needed friendship. But as Homecoming approaches, Katla uncovers a shocking secret about her past — a secret that binds her fate to Jack’s in a way neither could have ever anticipated. With a nod to Hans Christian Andersen and inspired by Norse lore, Wendy Delsol’s debut novel introduces a hip and witty heroine who finds herself tail-feathers deep in small-town life."

Review: What I liked about Stork:
-The way she uses her language is so awesome. Seriously, I'm in love with the writing.
-The stuff about the birds. Katla says that when she was little she was obsessed with birds, and that she studied them and learned all about them. And then, during the story, she ... like, knows about birds. Hooray for character development!
-The book is written in the first person, and I can remember the main character's name afterward. (This is an actual standard by which I judge first-person narratives, by the way.)
-Her pop culture references make me happy.

What I am iffy about:
-Love At First Sight/He's A Jerk To Me But I'm DRAWN To Him. AKA suddenly a flip is switched in a Twilightesque fashion and, OH, NOW he likes her. In her defense, there is a little bit of, "um, seriously, is he gonna drop the L-bomb after like a week?" (he didn't, by the way) and she says she's concerned that she's so obsessed with him.
-I have doubts that a real teenage boy would say the types of lovey-dovey things Jack said. But the more I think about it, the more slight they are.

What I didn't like:
-The Cover. OH, the cover. I CAN'T HANDLE IT. Seriously, I never would have read it, because of the cover.
-Penny says that Jack is usually really easygoing, but I don't feel that I saw any evidence of that in the book. He spent a lot of it brooding and/or being angry.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, to-own



Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Summary (via Goodreads): "'What do you want from me?' he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future"

Review: So I can totally understand why the Forever YA girls are in love with this book. It's kind of awesome.

Taylor, as a character, is perfect. She's vulnerable, hurt, angry, but still cares about the people around her. Jonah Griggs, the ultimate Mysterious Loner Dude, is also drawn perfectly - aloof and apart, stern and military, yet loyal and protective. Swoon.

The story was awesome - enough information to be interesting, but enough is held back to still be suspenseful.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, thought-provoking
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