Monthly Archives: July 2011

Don’t Stop Now – Julie Halpern

Don’t Stop Now
By Julie Halpern
Available Now


“I did it.”

On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who Penny told. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny may be hiding. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.

Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her last Summer of Nothing to fill.  Together, they share a thirst for all things weird the United States has to offer. But there’s something else Lil needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?

This Blonde’s Review:

Don’t Stop Now is a cute story about a girl on a mission. Lillian made friends with a girl named Penny, even though Penny annoys Lil half the time. Yet Lil doesn’t want to leave Penny on her own. When Lil finds out that Penny has faked her own kidnapping Lil feels like it’s part of her mission to make Penny deal with it before Lil gets in trouble with the police or FBI for not coming clean.

Lillian has always wanted to more than friends with Josh. A road trip to find Penny in Portland seems like the perfect time to figure it out without the distractions of other people. Yet at each hotel stop nothing happens. He doesn’t try anything or act like touching her is anything more than it’s always been. Until she sees a sign and kisses him. And he gives her the standard “let’s not ruin a great thing” speech. And she’s not happy about it.

Since Penny said she was going to see a guy she knew in Portland that is where Lillian and Josh were pointed. When they get to Portland they start their real search for Penny.

I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll stop there. I did enjoy this story, but I also felt it could have been better. I felt that there were some things left unclear and I would have liked for there to have been more about what happened with Penny about Gavin’s treatment of her and between Josh and Lil.


This would make a great vacation story if it sounds interesting to you. I read it on a short trip out of state. It was interesting enough to make me want to keep reading it, but not so gripping that I didn’t want to get out and enjoy my vacation.

If you enjoy YA stories about best friends trying to become more then you should give this story a try, just don’t expect to have everything neatly wrapped up at the end.


Possession – Elana Johnson

By Elana Johnson
Possession Series Book One
Available Now


Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them…starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous–everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

This Blonde’s Review:

Vi lives in a place with many rules. They can’t walk with boys, they can’t even think for themselves. Everyone in the Goodgrounds is brainwashed. Except Vi. She can feel Tech and doesn’t like it, so she avoids it as much as she can.That included no longer plugging in for her nightly brainwashing.

When Vi is arrested for walking with Zenn she imagines it’ll be like it has been before, where it’s basically a slap on the wrist and then she’s sent home. Except this time she’s taken to the Institute to see the Green. Essentially, the big bosses who control everyone. When she gets there she meets a boy named Jag. He is clearly not from the Badlands, a place Vi had always been taught held bad people. Except the more time she spends with him in prison, the more she realizes that they have a lot in common.

When Vi and Jag are able to escape they make a run for it. As Vi makes her way towards the Badlands and safety she is forced to learn how strong and how powerful her abilities with Tech really are. As Vi and Jag get closer and learn more about each other, Vi struggles with some of the things she learns about Jag without his being aware. Especially since some of these things involve Zenn, her best friend and the boy she loved back in the Goodgrounds.

It took some time for me to become interested in this story. I didn’t find myself hooked right away. It only took a few chapters to get involved though, so if you read this and struggle in the first chapter just keep reading. I also didn’t really like how quickly Jag and Vi decided they loved each other. There wasn’t really any buildup or Reason. They just did. Which was hard to accept since Vi was saying she loved Zenn up until she suddently loved Jag.

I did love Jag’s character much more than Zenn’s, so I did prefer Vi love Jag. Jag is a strong character even if he isn’t entirely honest with Vi from the start. Yet somehow I still trust him and know that he’s the good guy. I really enjoyed seeing Vi learn more about herself. She knew she was sensitive to Tech, but she never realized she had control of it, and she never knew just how powerful she was until she was on the run. I loved it.

Vi also has family issues and secrets that she’s working with throughout the story. They complicate things for her, but they also help make the things she’s going through even clearer. Vi has boy problems, family complications, and she’s trying to learn who she is in the middle of it all. It’s interesting to see.

I almost wish I discovered this series late so that I could read the whole series without interruption. It may have taken a little while to get involved in the series, but the more we got to know Vi the more I loved it. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of some of the other YA series that are out right now, but it wasn’t a copy and the characters are worth knowing more about.

If the description sounds good you should give it a read. Like I mentioned, there are other YA stories with some similarities, but don’t let that be a turnoff. If you enjoyed those then you’ll enjoy this one as well.


Bitter End – Jennifer Brown

Bitter End
By Jennifer Brown
Available Now


When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can’t believe she’s finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole’s small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose “love” she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose – between her “true love” and herself.
This Blonde’s Review:

Having read Hate List by Jennifer Brown, I figured she would write a story that can really show what it’s like inside the mind of a teenager faced with a difficult situation. In this case she wrote about how a girl can become the victim of an abusive relationship. I’m glad to say I was right.

Alex is a girl with plans. She wasn’t abused by her family, she has good friends, she isn’t alone. Many teens would think that those things would have to happen for someone to Allow someone else to hurt them without it being stopped. This isn’t the case for Alex. Alex meets Cole at school and he slowly pulls her closer to him. He’s jealous of her close friendships and starts inserting himself into their activities and plans, such as showing up at a diner when he knew they would be their for some friend time.

Readers are able to really get into Alex’s mind and see what she’s thinking and feeling as Cole builds her up to believe no one can love her like he does. We can also see how he teaches her to think that anything that he does to her is something she could have prevented, making it her fault.

I don’t want to give away what happens to Alex since this is a story I really enjoyed. Alex’s story shows how a person can find themselves in an abusive relationship and what they could be thinking and feeling.

If this book sounds interesting to you or you’ve ever wondered how a girl could allow this to happen to her then you should pick this book up. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.


Bad Taste in Boys – Carrie Harris

Bad Taste in Boys
By Carrie Harris
Kate Grable – Book 1
Available Now

Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe–not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She’s got to find an antidote–before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.


This Blonde’s Review:
Bad Taste in Boys is not your typical zombie story. Yes, there are zombies. No, it is not scary. This story has many unbelievable parts, even for a zombie story, and is actually more hilarious than anything else.

Kate is an incredibly smart girl who works as the student trainer for her school’s terrible football team. When the team coach gives most of the boys an injection in an attempt to improve their abilities it goes wrong. Somehow Kate is the only one to notice these changes, though having a boy try to bite her lip off may have something to do with how quickly she notices.

The book was an easy read with many hilarious interactions with zombies Kate knew. There are many areas that defy belief, even with a zombie novel, but the author was clearly going for funny more than the idea that it could be possible.

If you would enjoy an easy, funny read about zombies this would be a cute story to pick up.


Eat Slay Love – Jesse Petersen

Eat Slay Love
By Jesse Petersen
Living With The Dead Book 3
Available Today

Sarah and David might have solved their marriage problem – but that pesky zombie apocalypse just won’t go away.

They have survived the zombie apocalypse.  They stood side by side and fought the undead, mad scientists, and even bionic monsters until the unthinkable happened. A zombie bite.  But not even that could stop them. Now, with a possible cure in hand, they’re headed east, looking for a safe zone behind the rumored “Wall.”  They’re feeling pretty optimistic.

That is until Dave stops sleeping and starts lifting huge objects.

This Blonde’s Review:
I read the first book in this series a few months ago and couldn’t wait to read the next one. Except since the 2nd book was already out I was seeing advertising for the third book and mistakenly believed that this was the next in the series. Since I really enjoy Sarah and David I will be going back to read the 2nd book even though I already know what happens in book three. That’s a good way to tell if you enjoy characters or not. When I don’t enjoy them I don’t bother to go back since I can get the general idea in the book I skipped to.

Sarah is such a smart-ass and I love it. I tend to think that way and really relate to those characters. At one point in the book Sarah talks about how hard her husband sleeps and that if not for her David would have been eaten. It made me laugh the way she put it. Later the day I read that the subject of sleeping came up with my husband and I randomly informed him that if not for me he’d probably get eaten by zombies very quickly. This shows how much I enjoy Sarah since I rarely quote books or refer to them like it’s something that really happens.

I have had less of a connection with David, but I still enjoy him. He cares about his wife and is willing to sacrifice himself in a pit of zombies to save her. As I informed several people (including my husband) a man doesn’t Really love his wife until he’s willing to face a pit of zombies for her. Another example of how this book became part of everyday conversation for me. This is noteworthy, since like I said I rarely do it once.

We are introduced to a few new characters that alternately make you want them to live or get eaten by zombies. Add Dave’s new zombie-like tendencies, zombies, and crazy people trying to kill them and Sarah has a full plate.

I really enjoyed Married With Zombies, the first book in this series, when Sarah and David discover that a zombie apocalypse is better therapy for their marriage than counseling was. This isn’t a series you’ll want to skip straight to book three on, so be sure to pick that earlier books first.

If you like strong smart mouthed women, protective men who are strong enough to accept their woman as she is, and Zombies, then you’ll love this.

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Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Book Review, NetGalley