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Category Archives: Young Adult

Life By Committee – Corey Ann Haydu

Life By Committee
By: Corey Ann Haydu
Available May 2014

Description:
Some secrets are too good to keep.

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.

Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own.

But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

This Blonde’s Reivew:
Tab’s life isn’t your typical teenage life. Her parents had her young so aren’t like most parents. She calls them by their names. They get high and have had others over to get high with them, including someone who works at her school. Now that her mom is pregnant things are changing, she’s ready to grow up and do the right thing for the new baby. Except her dad isn’t quite there and Tab has to wonder what makes this baby different than her.

On top of the changes in her family Tab has also lost her friends. Tabs blossomed and her friends weren’t comfortable with the changes. Somehow bigger boobs meant she had changed as a person in their eyes. It didnt help that her best friend’s older brother had noticed the changes or that Tab didn’t hide the changes or act ashamed of her new looks.

Despite not having friends Tab does have Joe. She thinks he’s sweet, attractive, and really cares about her. He talks to her at night and they share all their secrets. The problem is that Joe has a girlfriend that everyone loves. As her ex friends spread rumors all Tabs can do is focus on other things. Like her feelings for Joe and the new site she discovered.

The concept of being able to share secrets then complete a task in order to keep them secret was something Tab couldn’t resist. Except the tasks given didn’t seem like the kind that were fun to me. They seemed like the kind meant to push your life towards something that can backfire. And while some characters seemed really involved in the idea of what was happening, the leader of the site just struck me wrong from the start. I was not a fan of his.

Tab has to deal with the fallout of some of her tasks, such as hurting her family and her remaining friend. For her last task she has to decide if she’s willing to ruin someone else’s life or not. When she finds out she knows someone who is also part of the site I loved the way that her first thought was for her instead of herself. She was finally able to see the way these things could change your life.

The decision Tab made next was fantastic. I loved seeing what she did and the way she took control of her own life and her own secrets. Clearly that wouldn’t have worked at most schools but the way the author set everything up for it worked out great. I had high hopes for how things would play out for Tabs and the people in her life after the book is over.

I didn’t get caught up in this one or have strong feelings about any of the characters. I’m not sure what it was that kept me from getting as into it as I prefer but it was still enjoyable. I wanted to see what would happen and how it would play out even if I didn’t have the connection I prefer.

If you like the idea of seeing how your life can change when you use a website that assigns tasks in exchange for keeping secrets then you’ll enjoy seeing what happens with this story.

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Ask Again Later

Ask Again Later coverAsk Again Later
By Liz Czukas
Available March 2014

Description:
Despite what her name might suggest, Heart has zero interest in complicated romance. So when her brilliant plan to go to prom with a group of friends is disrupted by two surprise invites, Heart knows there’s only one drama-free solution: flip a coin.

Heads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother’s best friend really be?

Tails: The theater geek…with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart’s interests–even if he wants to share all his feelings?

Heart’s simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all.

This Blonde’s Review:
What if flipping a coin led to being able to experience both outcomes? That is exactly what happens to Heart. In the classic style of alternating chapters we get to see both outcomes. We can see what happens when she agrees to go with her jock brother’s best friend who was recently dumped. Option two is going with a theater geek she’s friends with, someone with a secret that makes her want to help.

I loved Heart. She’s cynical about relationships and wants to avoid them. At the same time she has a big heart and is willing to forgive her brother acting like a jerk. To me the mix of cynicism and love makes her the kind of character I wanted to know and see happy.

And of course this book is going to have some romance. You’ll see her best option a mile away and I have to say that I loved him. I really wished we could get to know him better. Watching the way he and Heart interact had me smiling any time he showed up.

This was adorable read. I enjoyed seeing the different way her night plays out and the different perspectives. I really liked the way certain events happened the same way regardless of who she was with, the difference was where she was and who she was with during each event. I

If you enjoy seeing what can happen if you could pick both doors then I know you’re already interested in this book. Once you start to get to know Heart, with her aversion to her own name, her refusal to get involved with anyone, and her love for her family, then you’ll want to keep reading and hope for the best outcome for her.

I really liked this book and look forward to reading more by this author.

 

Book of Love – Lynn Weingarten

Book of Love coverBook of Love
By: Lynn Weingarten
Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers – Book 2
Available 31 Dec 2013

Description:
The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers has given Lucy everything she thought she wanted. Gone is the poor, innocent girl pining away for a guy who didn’t deserve her and in her place is a fierce, fabulous Heartbreaker with glamorous sisters, an unbreakable heart, and access to magic.

The only problem is this: Lucy’s floppy-haired, blues-playing best friend Tristan is in pain. And she’s powerless to help him.

Or is she?

It’s time for the annual Heartbreaker competition — a chance for Lucy and her sisters to win The Book of Love, an ancient tome containing centuries’ worth of Heartbreaker wisdom, and maybe, just maybe, enough magic to fix Tristan’s heart for good.

Lucy will do whatever it takes; if it helps her fix her friend, she knows it’s worth it. At least she thinks she knows.

As Lucy goes deeper into the world of the sisterhood, she learns that even those closest to her have unimaginable secrets, and when it comes to magic, nothing comes without a price . . .

This Blonde’s Review:
I read the first book in this series in 2011 and was not happy with the way it had ended. I wasn’t too fond of the main characters and really enjoyed reading about the guys so was wondering whether I’d find something more to love about them in the followup book. I have to say that I was pretty much stuck in the same boat. I enjoyed the book but didn’t care for the main characters. I spent most of the book wanting to find out more about the secondary characters. We barely saw the ones I enjoyed last book but we did meet some great people in this one that would have been worth knowing.

The concept was great since who doesn’t want the chance to help fix someone they care about or correct their mistakes? But there were so many things that I felt were brushed aside. The competition seemed like it would be a huge thing and take multiple attempts, especially for such a newly complete family of sisters, it was all over relatively quickly. It was a way to bring the book into the picture but not an important part of the storyline. I would have liked to see some difficulties instead of everything flowing freely.

The book still had a decent message regarding what it means to really live and how important it is to let yourself love. I enjoy when a book can show you things like that, but too much happened casually. The huge moment that should have changed everything was followed up with another oh ya and this happened type moment.

If you read the first book you should get your hands on this one so you can wrap up the story. If I remember correctly the other may have had a bit more buildup but it is similar the way it will throw things at you that could have been big but falls a little flat. It is still entertaining but not one I’d highly recommend unless you wanted an easy read. If the story sounds interesting to you you may still enjoy it but do not go in expecting it to blow you away. It is suited for a fun easy read.

 

Double Digit – Annabel Monaghan

Double Digit coverDouble Digit
By Annabel Monaghan
Digit – Book 2
Available January 2014

Be sure to check my review of Digit, the first book in this two part series.

Description:
To say eighteen-year-old Farrah Higgins—or Digit—is good at math is a laughable understatement. She’s been cracking codes since childhood, and is finally at home with “her people” at MIT in Cambridge. Her talents are so off the charts that her laptop is under surveillance by both the CIA and an ecoterrorist named Jonas Furnis. So when she thoughtlessly hacks into the Department of Defense’s database, she lands in serious hot water inside and outside the law. Readers will be sad to turn the last page of this suspenseful, sassy, super smart thriller, the sequel to A Girl Named Digit.

This Blonde’s Review:
In this book Digit has gone off the college and finally finds herself surrounded by people she can relate to. She makes friends with hackers in her dorm and is even friendly with her roommate. She’s finally in classes where the other students want to learn as much as she does and she isn’t so far past her classmates that it creates problems. For once she has to focus on schoolwork rather than having all of the numbers come to her.

I enjoyed where this book was going but it seems the book stayed on the surface. We didn’t get too deep into Digit’s new friendships. We also didn’t see much into her relationship with John. They’re great, they have issues, they need space, or maybe they don’t? It was rather unclear in many ways and as important as they are supposed to be to each other there was still too much that happened easily between them. Even the addition of a possible love triangle or two seemed a little too light and easy.

I did enjoy this book, despite what the last paragraph might lead you to believe. It was a light easy read since it didn’t go too deep into anything. Since I enjoyed the idea of this book I would have loved for it to be more than what it was. When I look at it based on what this book is as a light read, and very similar to the first book, then I can say that I was happy to see the growth we’ve seen in Digit as a character.

If you’ve read the first book you should definitely take a chance with this one too. It doesn’t get deeper than the first but it does give you more of Digit. If you haven’t read these books you’ll want to read them if you enjoy a light read about an incredibly intelligent girl and the way she stumbles into danger just by figuring things out.

I’ve also heard that Digit is being made into a Disney made or tv movie. I do enjoy those but rarely have read the books they’re based on (except for Avalon High) so I look forward to seeing what they do with the movie. It won’t be out for quite some time since they’re still looking at casting last I checked, but I might as well mention it while we’re on the subject of Digit.

 

The Rising – Kelly Armstrong

Darkness Rising coverThe Rising
By Kelly Armstrong
Darkness Rising – Book 3
Available April 2013

Description:
Things are getting desperate for Maya and her friends. Hunted by the powerful St. Clouds and now a rival Cabal as well, they’re quickly running out of places to hide. And with the whole world thinking they died in a helicopter crash, it’s not like they can just go to the authorities for help.

All they have is the name and number of someone who might be able to give them a few answers. Answers to why they’re so valuable, and why their supernatural powers are getting more and more out of control.

But Maya is unprepared for the truths that await her. And now, like it or not, she’ll have to face down some demons from her past if she ever hopes to move on with her life. Because Maya can’t keep running forever.

Old secrets are revealed and unexpected characters make a surprising return in this stunning conclusion to Kelley Armstrong’s New York Times bestselling Darkness Rising trilogy.

This Blonde’s review:
I really enjoyed this series and was looking forward to seeing what was going to happen next. And I have to say that this book didn’t really explode. It kind of fizzled. That’s not to say that it didn’t have some great parts to it, or that I was unhappy with the ending. But something about it just felt flat to me.

There is the love triangle, the long lost family members, the misunderstood family members, the friends who do whatever it takes, and new friends. This book really does have a lot of everything. And while Maya thinks she can’t have her happy ending, she really can. And maybe that’s part of the problem. Everything went down so easily once they really got down to it. No one really fought Maya on anything, even the ones who were supposed to disagree with her the most.

I don’t really know what else to say about this one without giving everything away. If you’ve already been caught up in Maya’s story then you’ll want to read this book to find out what happens. But don’t expect anything like a crashing helicopter or anything. This really does feel more like it is just wrapping up what happened in the other two into the neatest bow.

I enjoyed this one, but it really left me wanting more. Even with that, I enjoyed this series and would recommend it to those who enjoy the idea of teenagers discovering they have abilities they never knew existed.

 

Flawed – Kate Avelynn

Flawed coverFlawed
By Kate Avelynn
Available 22 January 2013

Description:
Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago — James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely.

Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.

Sam Donavon has been James’ best friend — and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on — for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realizes James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact…

This Blonde’s Review:
Flawed is so easy to get caught up in. We don’t want to see what’s coming, but can’t put the book down because we have to know.

Sarah lives her life on the edges trying to stay under the radar. Her father is a violent drunk so she spends most of her time trying to stay out of his way and not set him off. Her brother is the only bright spot in her life, he’s the one who will do anything to save her. The least she can do is always be there for him. Even if that means staying away from Sam, his best friend and her crush. When Sam starts to show interest in her and Sarah starts to step out of the shadows things start to change. When James goes too far and tries to take her relationship to a new and forbidden level.

When tragedy strikes everything changes. As the men in Sarah’s life race towards confrontations that will change Sarah’s life forever we can only hope there won’t be any more tragedies.

I really liked this book! I got caught up in it and hated having to put it down. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty but I had to know. We see what is inside a family that is dysfunctional in as many was as can be. This book could be difficult for some since it includes alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and other forms of emotional manipulation. Sarah’s life is a wreck and we can’t help but watch and hope that Sam will help her escape all of it instead of pushing towards more trouble. Sarah is stronger than she realizes and the men in her life will test her beyond what she should ever have to endure.

Sarah’s strength is the best part of this book. If you enjoy watching a character discover how strong she really is then you’ll want to read this story. It might break your heart a bit, but you’ll be glad you read it.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Book Review, Young Adult

 

The Trouble With Flirting – Claire LaZebnik

The Trouble With Flirting coverThe Trouble With Flirting
By Claire LaZebnik
Available February 2013

Description:
Franny’s supposed to be working this summer, not flirting. But you can’t blame her when guys like Alex and Harry are around. . . .

Franny Pearson never dreamed she’d be attending the prestigious Mansfield Summer Theater Program. And she’s not, exactly. She’s working for her aunt, the resident costume designer. But sewing her fingers to the bone does give her an opportunity to spend time with her crush, Alex Braverman. If only he were as taken with the girl hemming his trousers as he is with his new leading lady.

When Harry Cartwright, a notorious flirt, shows more than a friendly interest in Franny, she figures it can’t hurt to have a little fun. But as their breezy romance grows more complicated, can Franny keep pretending that Harry is just a carefree fling? And why is Alex suddenly giving her those deep, meaningful looks? In this charming tale of mixed messages and romantic near-misses, one thing is clear: Flirting might be more trouble than Franny ever expected.

This Blonde’s Review:
Franny is going to spend her summer working instead of acting in the theater program. When she discovers a friend from home and finds out that her brother, Alex, is there as well. The same brother Franny has had a crush on forever. This is a sign she should take advantage of being there and allowed to spend meals and breaks with the others. She gets to know everyone there including the gorgeous Harry.

Harry is the kind of guy who knows how irresistible he is and flirts with anyone in range. Franny isn’t going to take a guy like that seriously but before long allows herself to be talked into a date with Harry. She finds herself enjoying it more than she thought she would, even though she doesn’t believe he treat it as a serious date. Life gets more complicated for Franny when Harry seems to be taking things more seriously than she is and Alex starts to flirt with her. What’s a girl to do when she suddenly has two attractive guys after her? Especially when the one she really wants is taken and won’t make a choice?

I had a hard time getting into this one. I like Franny, but I didn’t really connect with her. The reason she had for her crush starting was cute, but I didn’t really see why she’d stay interested for so long. Alex didn’t seem like such a great catch to me, even through her adoring eyes. I did like Harry though. He acted like he’s God’s Gift but something about him made him seem like someone I’d like to know. I’m sure I’d have been more like Franny and not taken him seriously, but he was probably one of my favorite parts of this book.

Seeing the romances build around Franny was adorable and cringe=worthy all at once. She made so many clear mistakes and misread so many situations, yet in the way of books we can be happy to know that it all works out for the best for Franny.

If you’d enjoy watching a girl who has never flirted learn the fun and the trouble with flirting, then you’ll want to read this one.