July 31, 2012

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

Title: The Wednesday Letters
Author: Jason F. Wright
Ships Launched: 637
Pages: 282
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Year Published: 2007
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Tragedy, Christian
Synopsis: Their story begins with one letter on their wedding night, a letter from the groom, promising to write his bride every week—for as long they both shall live. Thirty-nine years later, Jack and Laurel Cooper die in each other's arms. And when their grown children return to the family B&B to arrange the funeral, they discover thousands of letters. The letters they read tell of surprising joys and sorrows. They also hint at a shocking family secret—and ultimately force the children to confront a life-changing moment of truth . . .

Even though this book is not really YA, I thought it looked cute and decided to pick it up.
It wasn’t really my type, but it was an entertaining read. It kind of reminded me of a Nicholas Sparks book, but not as dramatic or romantic.
The Wednesday Letters is about an adorable and sweet old couple who peacefully pass away one night at their bed and breakfast. Their children come together and discover the letters that Jack, the husband, had written his wife every Wednesday since their wedding day. As they read the letters, they happen upon an old family secret that could change their lives.
Jack and Laurel, the old couple, were the kindest, sweetest people. The stories of their marriage were so hilarious and heartbreaking; I wanted to meet them in real life.
A&P was so generous. She spent all of her time at Jack and Laurel’s bed and breakfast, and she tipped outrageously for every little thing they did. Little did she know that the couple was sending all of her money to a children’s shelter in Washington D.C.
Jack and Laurel’s children were all so flawed, but yet so charming. Each of them - Samantha, Malcolm, Matthew – they all had their redeeming qualities. Malcolm’s unfailing sense of humor, Sam’s spunk, Matthew’s intelligence. Even with all their mistakes, they were good people.
Rain was such a sweetheart. Nathan never deserved her, that jerkface.
I liked the story, but it wasn’t all that exciting. It wasn’t supposed to be, of course, but it kind of seemed boring.
The Wednesday Letters was a decent book, but unless you like slow drama and tragedy, I wouldn’t necessarily read it.

            +25 – Cameron – Such a sweet boy. To me, his story was the saddest part of the book.
            +63 – A&P – Can’t there be people as generous, steadfast, and kind as her in real life?

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Title: The Nanny Diaries
Author: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Ships Launched: 811
Pages: 306
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Year Published: 2002
Genre: Comedy, Contemporary
Synopsis: Wanted: One young woman to take care of four-year-old boy. Must be cheerful, enthusiastic and selfless—bordering on masochistic. Must relish sixteen-hour shifts with a deliberately nap-deprived preschooler. Must love getting thrown up on, literally and figuratively, by everyone in his family. Must enjoy the delicious anticipation of ridiculously erratic pay. Mostly, must love being treated like fungus found growing out of employers Hermès bag. Those who take it personally need not apply.
Who wouldn’t want this job? Struggling to graduate from NYU and afford her microscopic studio apartment, Nanny takes a position caring for the only son of the wealthy X family. She rapidly learns the insane amount of juggling involved to ensure that a Park Avenue wife who doesn’t work, cook, clean, or raise her own child has a smooth day. When the Xs marriage begins to disintegrate, Nanny ends up involved way beyond the bounds of human decency or good taste. Her tenure with the X family becomes a nearly impossible mission to maintain the mental health of their four-year-old, her own integrity and, most importantly, her sense of humor. Over nine tense months, Mrs. X and Nanny perform the age-old dance of decorum and power as they test the limits of modern-day servitude.

The Nanny Diaries has never failed to make me smile, no matter how many times I re-read it. The absurdities of the X family and the acts that Nanny goes to to please them are so hilarious and outrageous, one cannot help but chuckle.
And while the book is quite amusing, there is sweet little Grayer. He is so adorable, whether he’s locking Nanny out of the apartment or sitting on her lap, helping her turn pages of a book.
And yes, the book is funny and adorable, but it is also a bit disturbing. I know it is fiction, but I couldn’t help but wonder if people really lived like that. Do people really leave their children in the care of a nanny, go to the spa all day, and call it being a stay-at-home mom? Can husbands really care that little about their family? And how in the world can you treat someone the way that Mrs. X treats Nanny?
Of course, I know all these things are true in one way another. These things do happen. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Oh, sorry. Excuse my mini rant.
Aside from all of those disturbing bits, The Nanny Diaries really is an entertaining book. It’s not the most meaningful thing I’ve ever read, but not everything has to be meaningful! Everyone needs to be able to pick up good chick lit once in a while and have a good laugh.
Nanny’s grandmother was absolutely fantastic. Her wildness was admirable, and she didn’t let her age stop her from being young, if you know what I mean. She was very funny, but she was still kind. I would love to have her as a friend, even!
I love that not that many people have real names in this book. Or maybe they do. Maybe Mr. and Mrs. X are actually Mr. and Mrs. X, and maybe Nanny’s name is Nanny.
And let’s not forget Harvard Hottie. Oh my, he is wonderful. How does someone like him have such horrible friends?
If you want a light, humorous read that will make you smile (not to sound clichéd, or anything), I highly recommend The Nanny Diaries. The movie isn’t half bad, but Scarlett Johannson never was my favorite actress. And. The. Movie. Is. Different!
“But, Ahlorha,” you might say. “All movies are different from the book!”
“But, Readers. It was really different!” I would reply. “Really, really different!”
 Oh my, am I talking to our imaginary readers again?
            +36 – Grayer the Adorable – How can he be so cute and adorable with parents like that?
            +15 – Nanny’s Grandmother – So understanding… Even about the earmuffs! Kind of… (You’ll see, dear readers, you’ll see.)

July 28, 2012

Hey there, Ahlorha here. :)

Hey guys,
You may have noticed that I haven't posted a review for a month, and poor Gemma has been doing everything. I just wanted to let you all know why.
I've been on a road trip with my family for past two or three weeks, and it has been, well, interesting. Aside from our trailer nearly burning down and being in the middle of a lake in a thunderstorm, everything is great!
I haven't had any Wi-Fi, which is why I haven't posted. I have Wi-Fi now, though!
For about the next month, it will just be my reviews to make up for the whole month of Gemma reviews. I know you're sad that you won't be able to read her wonderful reviews for a while, but she'll be back sooner than you think. :)
I just wanted to say sorry for disappearing for a while there. Thanks to Gemma for covering for me! 
See you guys this Tuesday :)

July 24, 2012

TMI by Sarah Quigly

Title: TMI
Author: Sarah Quigley
Ships launched: 635
Pages: 288
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Year published: 2009
Genre: Teen 
     Friends call Becca the Overshare Queen, but her tendency for TMI never seemed like a problem to her until she blabs about her sweet band-geek boyfriend's sloppy kisses - and gets dumped! Realizing it may be better to resist the temptation to overshare face-to-face, Becca decides to blog anonymously about everything instead. On her blog, Too Much Information, Becca unleashes her alter ego, Bella. Bella tells it like it is . . . though perhaps with a bit more drama. After all, no one's going to read it, right??
        Becca is known for one thing, sharing too much information. She blabs about everything to everyone and can't seem to stop. Her mouth gets her into big trouble when it results in her being dumped. As a way to vent her "tmi" thoughts she starts a blog that no one will ever read.

       Becca is hilarious, her narration is bubbly and makes me smile. There are moments were I want to cringe for her sake but she is a likeable character. Her friends are likeable too. Kate and Jai have awesome personalities and  are good friends that accept Becca even with her overshare tendencies. 
   I like the way the story is written. Becca's upbeat voice makes everything funnier and the story more enjoyable. The plot is cute but some events are predictable. TMI made me laugh and was a good book.
      +20- narration
      +16- relatable characters 
      -1- predicatble

July 17, 2012

Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti

Title: Waiting for You
Author: Susane Colasanti
Ships launched: 504
Pages: 320
Publisher: Speak
Year published: 2009
Genre: coming of age, romance
At the beginning of her sophomore year, Marisa is ready for a fresh start and, more importantly, a boyfriend. So when the handsome and popular Derek asks her out, Marisa thinks her long wait for happiness is over. But several bumps in the road—including her parents’ unexpected separation, a fight with her best friend, and a shocking disappointment in her relationship with Derek—test Marisa’s ability to maintain her new outlook. Only the anonymous DJ, whose underground podcasts have the school’s ear, seems to understand what Marisa is going through. But she has no idea who he is—or does she?

       At the first glance, Waiting for You seems to be like the average teenage romance novel and in some ways it is. Readers will have no trouble identifying the "mysterious" DJ or figuring out who Marisa ends up with. However, the journey to the end of the story is surprising and satifsying.
    Marisa is a normal teenage girl who wants to reinvent herself for her sophomore year but many obstacles stand in her way. A) Her depression/anxiety B) Her parents separation and C) The fight with her BFF Sterling. Marisa finally gets the guy of her dreams but (no surprise) he turns out to be not as great as she thought.  Then there is her friend Nash. Nash is the ultimate geek but sweet and witty. He helps Marisa through her problems it's obvious that he likes her. As the DJ begins his podcast, Marisa identifies with what he says and wonders who he is even though the answer is right in front of her.

    The book was a cute read but some things annoyed me. Some of the language is cliched and most teenage girls don't speak like stupid airheads. Also the plot took awhile to capture my interest. Waiting for You was a sweet, quick read.

+12- Nash is an awesome character and a cute nerd.
- 6- Cliched language was off putting.
- 2- Plot was boring in the beginning.


July 10, 2012

The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Key to the Golden Firebird
Author: Maureen Johnson
Ships launched: 500
Pages: 297
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year published: 2005
Genre: Coming-of-age, Young Adult Romance
   The funny thing about stop signs is that they're also start signs. Mayzie is the middle sister, sent to private school because of her brains. Brooks, the oldest, is a beautiful athlete who's conflicted about her two loves: softball and Dave. Palmer is the youngest, tentative in all but her blistering pitches as the only freshman on varsity softball. Though very different, the Golds are sisters through and through.When the unthinkable happens -- the death of their father -- a year passes in shattered silence. Brooks begins drinking, Palm withdraws, and May is left to fend for herself. She gets a job at a coffee spot, and hits the books. But the one thing she can't do alone is learn to drive. That's when Peter, her lifelong nemesis and all around thorn-in-side, assumes a surprising new role in May's life: he teaches her to drive, and the connection between them changes from childhood animosity to one that May can't understand, or doesn't yet want to.
As May slowly starts to pick up the pieces of her life, her sisters struggle with their own demons. The Gold sisters have been changed irrevocably, and they are all but lost to one another, until the key is found. The key to their father's Pontiac Firebird. 

 Three young sisters struggle to overcome the grief left in the wake of their father's death. Along the way, they also deal with the pressure of growing up. Brooks begins to behave wildly, Palmer becomes a hermit, and May feels as if she has to take care of everybody else.
The one thing still tying the girls together is their father's old firebird.
    The book is a quick read, but well written. The situations that May, Brooks, and Palmer go through are very realistic and may be relatable to some readers. Although sometimes somber, the book is filled with funny moments and romance.
The book is a moving story but at times the plot left me feeling a little bored. Overall the book is a good read.



July 3, 2012

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Title: Going Bovine
Author: Libba Bray
Ships launched: 612
Pages: 480
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Year Published: 2009
Genre: Young Adult, Dark Comedy
All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school—and life in general—with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure—if he’s willing to go in search of it. With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

        Be prepared to take a trip down the rabbit hole. Going Bovine is by far one of the most er... weirdly interesting books I have ever picked up. The story begins with slacker Cameron drifting through life, continually disappointing people. Then he discovers he has Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease(basically mad cow) and since there is no cure he is doomed to die young. Along comes Dulcie, who sends Cameron to find Dr. X and save the world. 

        I've read some of Libba Bray's other books and in Going Bovine she ventures into a completely different subject area. The book itself is amusing but carries a dark undertone that keeps readers glued to the page. Cameron is snarky and sarcastic with normal teenage problems that make him extremely relatable. His one rule is that no expectations=no disappointments. The unconventional quest he takes is filled with original characters like Gonzo the hypochondriac dwarf, Balder and other...fairly interesting characters. 

     The plot is filled with twists and turns and weird adventures I did not expect. Somewhere in the story I got a little lost in the plot and became puzzled but I finished the book. Bray's eccentric writing style created strong characters and an unusual story. Although the book is filled with craziness, I would definitely recommend it to the average sane teenager.  

    +10- interesting plot.

    +5- developed characters.

    -3 Plot is a little hard to follow.