Friday, February 25, 2011

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows - no more. It's a personal choice...and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born; The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways...which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like...

I love the Beatles. I just thought I should throw that out there.
That said, any book centered around the Beatles is going to be good in my opinion.

I wasn't so impressed with the beginning of the book, but it's vital to the rest of the story. Without the chain of events set up at the beginning of the book, there would be no "Lonely Hearts Club". Let me paint a little picture for you-- Girl falls hard for guy, guy sweet talks girl into becoming some crazy, clingy, check-the-phone-every-thirty-seconds-in-case-he-calls, ditch-friends-for-boyfriend kind of traitor and then girl gets burned by guy or guys in succession. Girl gets fed up with it all, maybe has a mini public freak out, and swears off men completely. Puh-lease. I went to high school. I've SO been there.

Enter Penny Lane and the Lonely Hearts Club (L.H.C.). Enter girl power. You think I'm kidding. This book really was an example of women empowering each other and encouraging each other to live their dreams... for about 5 minutes. Then Penny turned into Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde. Poor thing. She just needed a man in her life. And I'm not talking about John, Paul, George, and Ringo. :)

(Okay, so maybe it was more than 5 minutes...)

I really did like this book. I thought it was hilarious that Penny's sisters were named after Beatles songs, too. Really, her parents were obsessed. I loved Penny's parents. Especially in a particular scene when they go meet with the principal who is having concerns about the effect of the L.H.C. on the student population. By the end of the scene, I couldn't quit smiling. I was so proud of Penny's parents. They were just what parents should be. Even if they were a little on the crazy-obsessive side.

Just read this. Even if you hate it, you'll get to have Beatles lyrics running through your mind for a few days! Can't go wrong there.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Do you think there is a such thing as Book Lover's Anonymous??

"Hello, my name is Megan, and I am addicted to reading." (All: Hello Megan.)

In the past 5 days, I have purchased 6 new books. Yes, 6. Holy Cow.
  • Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  • Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
  • Timeless by Alexandra Monir
These were all purchased on Saturday. Then, two nights ago, I was talking to my husband because I lost a book that I bought for myself for Christmas (that he was supposed to wrap up and give to me) but I really don't recall ever opening that present, and it just occured to me that it hasn't made an appearance on my bookshelf. As I was searching everywhere for it, my husband said to me, "Maybe it's a sign that you have too many books."


Is there even such a thing?? Sacrilege is what I say to that.

Anyway, I've been so bummed about not being able to find that book, that today I caved and bought not just one, but THREE new books. (I should mention that none of them was a replacement to the book I lost-- I know, where's the sense in that?) So, now being sent to my doorstep are:
  • Demonglass (Hex Hall, Bk. 2) by Rachel Hawkins-- Yes, Hex Hall is THAT good. And I'm not even completely through it yet!
  • Stork by Wendy Delsol
  • Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

Don't tell my husband. I'll never live it down. :) Now I have to find room for them all on my bookshelf...

Now I have to ask,
What books are you dying to read this year??

Happy Reading!!

***EDIT: Can I admit to something?? I just looked back at my past Amazon orders... I never ordered the book I thought I'd lost. I really thought I had, but now I see what I got instead, I remember... Oops. Now seriously don't tell my husband. hahaha ....I feel dumb now about searching for it forever. :)

Gentlemen by Michael Northrop

Micheal, Tommy, Mixer, and Bones aren't just from the wrong side of the tracks--they're from the wrong side of everything. Except for Mr. Haberman, their remedial English teacher, no one at their high school takes them seriously. Haberman calls them "gentlemen," but everyone else ignores them--or, in Bones's case, is dead afraid of them. When one of their close-knit group goes missing, the clues all seem to point in one direction: to Mr. Haberman.

Gritty, fast-paced, and brutally real, this debut takes an unflinching look at what binds friends together--and what can tear them apart.

I must be on some kind of streak. Seriously.

I have been wanting to read this book for ages. It sounded like a good, suspenseful book, and I finally was able to find it at my local library. (I'm a strict read-it-before-I-buy-it kind of girl.)

I was so disappointed. It wasn't at all what I was expecting--and not in a good way. It was twisted and a bit sinister. I've read some good reviews for it, but it just wasn't my style.

You be the judge on this one. I really don't have much to say about it.

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook

Popularity is the best revenge.

In the final weeks of eighth grade, Lauren Wood made a choice. She betrayed her best friend, Helen, in a manner so publicly humiliating that Helen had to move to a new town just to save face. Ditching Helen was worth it, though, because Lauren started high school as one of the It Girls--and now, at the start of her senior year, she's the cheerleading captain, the quarterback's girlfriend, and the undisputed queen bee. Lauren has everything she's ever wanted, and she has forgotten all about her ex-best friend.

But Helen could never forget Lauren. After three years of obsessing, she's moving back to her old town. She has a new name and a new look, but she hasn't dropped her old grudges. She has a detailed plan to bring down her former BFF by taking away everything that's ever been important to Lauren—starting with her boyfriend.

Watch out, Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.

I swear to you all I am not plotting revenge on anyone. Though you may think it with all these "help karma out" books I've been reading lately. Funny enough, I don't think I've ever really tried to get hardcore revenge on anyone in my entire life. I just never was the type to hold a grudge. It is kind of fun to live vicariously through a fictional character though. And to get some awesome ideas in case I ever get a hankering for some juicy revenge...

I have to be honest-- I didn't love this book. Just coming off The Karma Club, this wasn't nearly as impressive. I did really like Helen/Claire though. Despite how hard she tried, I just don't think she had it in her to be a genuinely mean person like Lauren was. And I am glad for that, because Lauren was a BEAST. (The words I really need to use to describe her are words that I don't say, so use your imagination.) Helen/Claire was the type of girl you could hang out with. And she really was a great friend--unless you stabbed her in the back.

I also liked the moral of the story. I think it's so easy to get caught up in the "importance" of popularity. I know many girls stress about where they rank on the "food chain" that is high school. This book shows the importance of staying true to yourself, and being a good friend and a good person. That those things are infinitely more important. Lauren is the prime example that being popular doesn't necessarily equal being well-liked. I think it's so much more important to be well-liked. (And no, this is not coming from a high school loser who is saying that to try to make it true. It is true.)

The message is pretty clear-- be the bigger person. Forgive those who've wronged you and MOVE ON.

Although it isn't the best book I've ever read, I definitely think it's worth checking out for the message of the book. Get it from the library though. :)

Happy Reading!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Karma Club by Jessica Brody

Madison Kasparkova always thought she understood how Karma works. Do good things and you'll be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what you deserve. But when Maddy’s boyfriend cheats on her, nothing bad comes his way. That’s why Maddy starts the Karma Club, to clean up the messes that the universe has left behind. Sometimes, though, it isn’t wise to meddle with the universe. It turns out Karma often has plans of its own.

I got this book a couple months ago and it's been keeping my bookshelf warm. It looked so sad sitting there, pouting at me because it wasn't getting any attention-- much like my three-year-old does when I'm taking care of my infant. So, I thought I'd better give it a read. At first, this was easier said than done.

It took me a few attempts to get into this book, but once the Karma Club was formed, I was hooked. I loved their "operations", and the hilarious names they gave to each mission. I thought the twists in the story were perfectly executed, and by the time I closed this book, I had a smile on my face and a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart.

I loved the lessons the characters learned along the way, and I think the message in the book is one many can relate to and learn from, which is-- You don't mess with Karma, because it'll come for you. Like Cops with a camera crew, for the whole world to witness. And trust me, it won't be pretty.

This book is a must-read. I laughed out loud throughout most of it--which should be a testament in itself of this book. (That doesn't happen often!) The voice the story is told in was brilliant, I thought. It really seemed like a teenager telling the story. And not in a "like"/ "totally"/ "OMG" kind of way. This was one of the best light reads I've enjoyed in a while. Just... Read this.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Release Date: March 7, 2011

It’s the summer of 1889, and seventeen-year-old Amelia van den Broek has been sent to Baltimore to stay with her stylish cousin, Zora, who will show her all the pleasures of city life and help her find a suitable man to marry. With diversions ranging from archery in the park to dazzling balls and hints of forbidden romance, Victorian Baltimore is more exciting than Amelia imagined. But her gaiety is interrupted by the disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies, and the young woman who was an outsider is suddenly quite in demand. However, her attraction to Nathaniel, an artist who is decidedly outside of Zora's circle, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. And while she has no trouble seeing the futures of others, she cannot predict whether Nathaniel will stay in hers.
When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause of them.

I admit, I've been mulling over this book since the weekend. Even after almost a week, I am undecided on whether I really loved it or really didn't love it. Maybe I've settled somewhere in the middle...

There were so many things I loved about this book. I loved Amelia. Even though times were different, Amelia was much the same as teenagers today. A sixteen year old girl struggling to find herself and maybe love along the way. Granted, she's looking for a husband at sixteen, while girls nowadays are looking for a boyfriend, at best. Oh, and Amelia has visions of the future. That's a bit uncommon today too, I suppose. Amelia was just naive enough to be endearing but daring enough to make you want to see her story through to the end.

I also loved Nathaniel. There were some things about him that I wanted so badly to understand, but for the life of me didn't. I'm a bit confused why some of the things he did were even in this book. However, as far as love stories go, this was one I enjoyed, mostly thanks to Nathaniel. Amelia was far "out of his league"--and they both knew it-- but I think that's why I loved the romance side of the story. What girl doesn't want to read about a forbidden romance??

This book had a little bit of everything-- romance, adventure, intrigue, and tragedy-- all with a little supernatural thrown in. Overall, I really did like this book. The reason I've been so undecided is that I didn't like the ending, which is, of course, what you walk away from a book remembering. If I don't like a book very much, but it has a spectacular ending, I'm more likely to be generous in my review of it. This book was the opposite for me. I liked the story, just not the ending. So, I'm a little torn. Maybe I'll just let you be the judge. I definitely think The Vespertine is worth reading, just don't say I didn't warn you if the ending leaves you a bit disappointed.

Happy Reading!

**I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Enough Already

I really feel the need to address a certain problem. So, here it is.

Megan's Soapbox in Ten Sentences or Less

Just about every book I have read in the past two months (with the exception of Harry Potter-- because J.K. Rowling is above lame descriptive terms) has had the main male character with one similar feature.

It's always "...with a perfect face except for a slightly crooked nose, like it's been broken and never healed quite right...but in a good way....".

Since when is "slightly crooked" or a nose that "never healed quite right" sexy? Then I wonder, is it even possible for it to be "in a good way"? I think not.

Case in point-- Owen Wilson. Definitely NOT hot.

Please quit using this description. It's getting old (and NOT in a good way). Give him a hunchback or something, since it's basically the same thing.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Haven by Kristi Cook

Release Date: February 22, 2011
  One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.

But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.

Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.
I loved this book. The end.
When I started reading, my first thought was that the story was so unoriginal. Really? Girl goes to a new school feeling awkward and alone, enter hot guy who keeps to himself who is suddenly totally in love with said girl. I mean, c'mon. Ringing any bells?? I bet you can think of at least 50 off the top of your head. Is this not the storyline in about half of all YA books out there right now?? So, I wasn't thrilled.
Then, however...
I kept reading.
Turns out, this is probably my favorite "retelling" of the same old story. There were twists that I didn't expect. There were concepts that I thought were brilliant that made it so much more intriguing to me than other versions. And really, I need to quit comparing it to anything else, because it was a book on it's own level.
This was such an easy, quick read, but I loved the story. Other than the obvious beginning, it was like nothing I've read in a long time. I am dying to tell you why and explain more, but I honestly can't without giving something away.
I'd put this on your "To Buy" list. It's definitely worth it.
Happy Reading!

***EDIT: I apologize. I forgot some very important information in this post. I was so caught up in my thoughts of the book that these other things just slipped my mind. Forgive me! As this is not published yet, I added the release date of this book at the top of the post. Also, I would like to acknowledge Simon & Schuster, who I received this egalley from for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Elixir by Hilary Duff

Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea’s photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before.

When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking??

Hilary Duff WROTE a book? Seriously?

I was a bit intrigued, I'll admit. The description actually sounded pretty good, so why not?

My immediate reaction as I began reading this book was that is wasn't relatable. Really-- how many seventeen year old girls do you know have an unlimited supply of cash to travel anywhere in the world on a whim with no parental supervision and not a care in the world? And what parent would allow it, even if their teenager had the means?


As I started reading, I actually really liked the idea of the story. Most of it was pretty predictable, but it flowed well. My complaints are few, but you be the judge of how major they are-- First, I felt like it was slow in the beginning, and all the significant happenings were crammed into the last few chapters. There was a certain "turn of events" that felt forced and I was surprised it was even thrown in, to be honest. And then there was the ending....Oh, Hilary. You have so much to learn.

Now, I am not a writer by any stretch of the imagination, but I read more than I breathe, and I know what good writing is. I know what a set-up for a sequel looks like and how cliffhangers work but I am sad to report that Ms. Duff has been poorly informed on these points. The ending was an explosion of chaos that didn't make much sense, and by the last page, I was so lost. Nothing made sense, there was no real set-up for the next book (which I'm sure there will be--otherwise I'm going to have to revise my review and give Elixir a big, fat "thumbs down" for wasting my time), and I closed the book wondering what in the world had just happened??

I really did like the concept for the book. I just didn't care for the ending. I was mostly impressed by this first attempt at writing from Hilary Duff. I went in with low expectations, and they were exceeded by far. Read this-- and if you can make sense of the ending, let's talk. :)

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Readers beware. The brilliant, breathtaking conclusion to J.K. Rowling's spellbinding series is not for the faint of heart--such revelations, battles, and betrayals await in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that no fan will make it to the end unscathed. Luckily, Rowling has prepped loyal readers for the end of her series by doling out increasingly dark and dangerous tales of magic and mystery, shot through with lessons about honor and contempt, love and loss, and right and wrong. Fear not, you will find no spoilers in our review--to tell the plot would ruin the journey, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an odyssey the likes of which Rowling's fans have not yet seen, and are not likely to forget. But we would be remiss if we did not offer one small suggestion before you embark on your final adventure with Harry--bring plenty of tissues.

The heart of Book 7 is a hero's mission--not just in Harry's quest for the Horcruxes, but in his journey from boy to man--and Harry faces more danger than that found in all six books combined, from the direct threat of the Death Eaters and you-know-who, to the subtle perils of losing faith in himself. Attentive readers would do well to remember Dumbledore's warning about making the choice between "what is right and what is easy," and know that Rowling applies the same difficult principle to the conclusion of her series. While fans will find the answers to hotly speculated questions about Dumbledore, Snape, and you-know-who, it is a testament to Rowling's skill as a storyteller that even the most astute and careful reader will be taken by surprise.

A spectacular finish to a phenomenal series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a bittersweet read for fans. The journey is hard, filled with events both tragic and triumphant, the battlefield littered with the bodies of the dearest and despised, but the final chapter is as brilliant and blinding as a phoenix's flame, and fans and skeptics alike will emerge from the confines of the story with full but heavy hearts, giddy and grateful for the experience. --Daphne Durham
This is what is listed as the "book description" everywhere I looked for one. The book cover simply says, "We now present the seventh and final installment in the tale of Harry Potter." which I thought was brilliant. I am glad I got to dive into it without knowing where it would go. And I loved this "book description" (which is really a review, obviously)-- I don't know what else I can really add to it except this:
I loved Dumbledore's admonition to Harry about choosing between what was right versus what was easy. I thought about it often as I read this book, not only in reference Harry's journey, but also to the author's journey.
I have read so many series, and been disappointed so many times by the conclusion. It seems like many authors take the easy road and cheat so many fans by glossing over the conflict.
However, with Harry Potter, I was so impressed by J.K. Rowling's determination to tell such a gripping, honest, REALISTIC tale of people at war that she wasn't afraid to do "what was right" in terms of the storyline.
This book made me laugh...and cry... a lot. It truly is not conclusion for the "faint of heart", but it was by far the best conclusion I've read yet. With the final book finished, I think I can say that Harry Potter has made it into my very top list of favorite book series. It was a journey-- one I am sad to have ended, but also one I'm so glad I took. I don't want to give anything away, because it really is a journey you have to take on your own--and if you haven't yet, you need to take it! But, keeping tissues handy isn't a bad idea!
Happy Reading!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Your Thoughts

Does anyone have any thoughts on the new layout and background?
What do you like? What do you not like? Why?
Is the font easy to read?
Is it easy to navigate?
Can you find what you are looking for?
Is there anything you'd like to see added or changed?

I am still trying to figure out the button situation. I'm not tech-savvy in the slightest, so bear with me. :)

I'd love to read your feedback so I can make necessary changes! Thanks!

Happy Reading!