Harmony Book Reviews

Archive for July 2008

I realize that for a while I was not the best blogger/reviewer and I apologize. I’ve been trying to get back in the swing of things and we have a bunch of new features coming up, including the monthly Surprise Packs.

However, from August 3rd to the 6th,  I will be at Kingdom Bound (tons of Christian concerts and amusement park rides!) and when I come back, I’ll be going directly to band camp. Since band camp is from 8-4, I probably won’t have too much time to blog. However, posts will still be going up. I just won’t be responding or accepting comments.

Anyway, before I left, I wanted to leave you guys with some cool links to check out.

First off, over at  Reviewer X there have been some interesting discussions between reviewers and authors, including When Are You Going To Get To My Book?, What About Negative Reviews?, and Is Asking For Books Offensive?  I suggest going to check them out, whether you’re a reviewer, author, or just a reader.

Justine Larbalestier has, as usual, posted the some things I found quite interesting. One post was on The Most Annoying Review Cliche Of All Time. The other is for writers on Writing Career Advice.

Libba Bray also posted one of the most useful and hilarious articles on writing I’ve ever read. Find it here.

Also, remember how I was having those reviewer guestblogs and interviews every Friday? Well, I realize I haven’t been posting them but I do have one for this Friday. After that, however, I don’t have any more. So if you’re a reviewer and would like to do either an interview or guest blog, PLEASE email me at harmonybookreviews@yahoo.com

Authors – if you have any promotional items, like bookmarks, a signed copy of your book, etc. that you’d like me to put in the monthly surprise packs, please contact me.

Oh, and for you Harry Potter fans, here’s the link to the HBP trailer.



The Ruby Key (Moon & Sun)

 Due to an agreement between the humans and Nightlings, the two are never to meet. But when Genna and her younger brother Dan venture outside at night, when everyone is supposed to be safe inside, to get a special sap to save their mother, things begin to change. They are told by a Nightling slave the truth of what is really happening between the Nightlings and humans. The leader of the human village, Genna and Dan’s “uncle”, has made a deal with the Nightling king that will result in his own immortality but the downfall of every other human.

Genna and Dan must strike their own deal with the Nightling king and set out on their own journey to not only save themselves and their family but everyone in their village, as well as the Nightlings.

Filled with adventure and striking prose, The Ruby Key is one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read in a while. The characters, even the non-human ones, were realistic and every single of them played an important part in the unfolding plot. The plot itself was unpredictable and filled with twists and turns you never see coming. The ending even keeps you begging for more.

Holly Lisle may be an accomplished adult author but her name is sure to become a popular one among teen fiction too. 


The Elite


Casey have just moved from the simple, country town of Normal to the sophsticated city of Manhattan to live with her grandma while attending a prestigious academic prep school. On her first day in the city, before she’s even been to her new apartment to see her grandma, Casey has already met the Upper East Side’s most powerful and snobby high school girls. And she’s been asked to come with them to the Park.

But Casey soon realizes that she doesn’t quite fit in with that crowd, especially with Madison, the Queen Bee of it. Though her new frenemies, who are definitely more enemy than friend, can be horrible to her, Casey realizes she can’t give them up. Without them, she is nobody and being with them does have perks. Who else would take her on countless fashion trips to the mall? Then there’s the matter of Drew… Madison’s sort-of-ex-boyfriend that continues to flirt with Casey.

With all of the books out there about snobby, rich girls in big cities and the poorer, small-town girls who end up in big cities without a clue about fashion, there’s obviously some competition. By giving each of the characters a background, a history, and their own problems, Jennifer Banash blows the competition away.

That’s not to say that The Elite is perfect, for I did find some irritating things in it, but it was definitely a fun read. The entire cast of snobby, rich girls each had their own unique personality and personal problems. They were not just self-center, snobby, fashion addicts, though they were certainly that in addition. The writing style was light and fun and the one thing I loved most was how the chapters were told in alternating points of views. I definitely enjoyed seeing things from Drew’s perspective and I think Jennifer did a great job getting inside of a boy’s head because I could picture my guy friends thinking and feeling the same exact way.

The drama unfolded realistically and for once, I could actually picture and relate to what was happening. Even the love triangle seemed real and you knew it wasn’t just thrown in there to add more drama.

The one thing I didn’t like was the ending. It was just too abrupt. I would’ve liked a few more paragraphs or something to give more closure to the end of the scene. Luckily, a sequel will be coming out in just a few months so it won’t be such a big deal.

I recommend this to fans of Frenemies, Gossip Girl, The Clique, or any of those books about snobby, rich girls. Actually, I recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, drama-filled read.






 Kori Kitzler is the “dark angel” of the eighth grade. Serena Moore is just your average eigth grader. When Kori tells Serena that they are more alike than she thinks, Serena is instantly intriuged. What could she and bad-girl Kori possible have in common?

Fast forward to years to their sophmore year and they’re now best friends.They tell each other everything and Serena has turned into Kori’s twin. They look alike and seem to act alike. Serena is working her hardest are becoming a tough, fearless, and outspoken teenager, just like Kori.

But before that can happen, fate yanks Kori away in a tragic accident, leaving Serena with a list of five things she wanted to do. As Serena tries to complete those five things, she learns for the first time how alike they really are but she also learns that there were some secrets Kori had been hiding.

When I first started Undone, I was positive I wouldn’t like it. I figured that after it mentioned lesbian sex, getting high, and being arrested on the first two pages that it was going to be some graphic and sex-filled book about drugs and sex. But it wasn’t. It never even came close to being that. What it was, however, was a novel about friendship, love, and figuring out just who you are. I loved it.

Everything about this was great. The characterization was exactly right, the plot completely believable, and the prose just kept the reader intrigued. I couldn’t wait to find out how deep the relationship between Serena and Kori really was and I was on the edge of my seat every time Kori did something daring. At one point, I was even close to tears. None of those things easily happen while I’m reading which just goes to prove how much I loved this book.

I definitely recommend reading this book when you get the chance. It’ll blow you away. However, if you’re under the age of 14 or are easily offended, you may not want to read this. (Then again, I’m under 14 and it blew me away so just use your own judgement.) 

Well, it’s a little late this month but here’s the montly Author of the Month contest! This time around you can win a SIGNED copy of the newly released and fabulous Undone by Brooke Taylor. Here’s what you do:


*Leave a comment on this post to enter*

is over *For an extra entry, post about it on your blog*

*Get your entries in because this August 1st*


I finished reading Madapple last night and for the first time ever, I sat staring at the book in shock. For fifteen minutes. I was ready to laugh, to cry, and to scream in frustration. Never before have I read a book that left me feeling that way after finishing it. Sure, there’s been books where I’ve laughed, cried, and been frustrated with at different points as I read it (Deathly Hallows comes to mind) but to experience them all at once at the end of a book? Never.

Once the shock wore off, I began wondering how I was ever going to write a review of this book. Because a book that can cause emotions like that definitely can NOT be summed up in one paragraph, no matter how long. I could say that Madapple was about flowers and plants. I could also say that it’s about a girl who’s a prisoner in her own life. I could also say that it challenges the religion of Christianity. I could say all of those things and so many more but none of them would be correct. Yes, Madapple is about flowers and plants. It’s also about being a prisoner in your own life and it’s even about Christianity. But it’s also about so much more than that. More than even my mind can comprehend.


But I must warn you – Madapple is NOT for everyone


Told in alternating chapters of the present and of testimonies being held at Aslaug’s trial, Madapple challenges the reader. It informs the reader. I, myself, though I am not a strong Christian, know by now that most Christians are offended when Christianity is challenged. Madapple does that. But I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, for it never states that Christianity is wrong and every single character has their own opinion on it. Heck, one of them even runs a church. But what it does do is explain how the birth and story of Jesus that the Christians follow is not the first in history. I’m not going to say more on that subject in fear of giving too much away but I’ll say this – If you’re a Christian who is easily offended, I wouldn’t read this. If you’re a Christian who can handled a reasonable amount of things, pick up the book.


My feelings about Madapple changed throughout the whole book. At first, I was intrigued, then confused, and then bored. Actually, I think I was confused up until the last page and then some. Even at this moment, I can’t say whether I love or hate Madapple. But I’m going to say that I love it because it’s left me speechless and the only other books to have done that are my favorites. The one thing, however, this book didn’t do was make my stomach hurt. The character emotions just weren’t there to make my heart break. All other aspects, besides that, which I love in books were there.


So do I recommend Madapple? Heck yes! But only if you’re up for a challenging read. Only if you’re mature enough to handle speculations about virgin birth and premarital birth. Only if you’re ready to be blown away because you will be, whether it’s in a good or bad way. Only you can make that decision.



The Story Siren is having not one but TWO awesome contests over at her blog. The first is the 20,000 hits contest where you can win a number of books and book-related goodies. All you have to do is fill out the survey!

The second is the Twilight series contest. All you have to do is leave a comment and you can win the whole Twilight series, along with some Twilight goodies!


So I recommend going over and checking them out right now!

I don’t think that there’s any way for me to summarize the complex plot that makes up the novel called Trouble but I’m going to try.

Henry’s father always said that if you stayed far enough away from Trouble, Trouble would never find you. It was what Henry and everyone else in his family believed. Until Trouble came to their lives in the form of Chay, a young Cambodian teen. Henry’s older brother, Franklin, had been jogging on the night Chay hit him. Chay said it was an accident but their community thinks otherwise because Cambodians don’t belong there and are the cause of every disaster.

Filled with anger of the accident, Henry, his best friend, and Black Dog, set out to do the one thing Henry and Franklin had planned to do – climb Mt. Katahdin. They don’t know how they’re going to get there, how they’re going to survive, or anything about climbing mountains but they know they’re going to do it.

As their journey continues, Henry runs into the one he hates most. Chay is also running from Trouble and the once enemies become allies and Henry begins to realize that family is not always what it seems and sometimes you just can’t run from Trouble.

All I can say is that this is an amazing book and should be required reading in every classroom. Not only were the characters real and three dimensional, each with their own quirks and problems, but the plot was also drawn out perfectly, with the right amount of details and action. You could feel yourself being taken into their world and though this is technically a historical novel, I could barely tell because it seemed so real. While reading this book, you will feel your heart breaking for Chay but you’ll also be hoping that everything turns out okay for Henry’s family. Trouble will take you on a roller coaster of emotions that you will never forget.

There’s really no way for me to explain how much I loved this book. It’s creative and original and just all-around amazing. Whether you’re a middle school English teacher or a student, you should definitely pick this up on your next trip to the bookstore. Or heck, order it from Amazon today!

The Cupid Chronicles (The Wedding Planner's Daughter #2)Willa is back and just entering her freshman year of high school. Things are going great. Her mom and her new husband, Willa’s old English teacher, are happily running a bed and breakfast of sorts and things have relaxed a bit. But Willa has two new problems now – figuring out whether JFK loves her or some other girl and stopping the Bramble Library from closing due to lack of funds. Working as the school’s Community Service leader and hosting semi-romantic dances may just help Willa save the library and find some romance for herself.

Following the footsteps of the first book in the series, The Wedding Planner’s Daughter, The Cupid Chronicles includes the perfect amount of humor to make a laugh-out-loud funny book, without over doing it. The writing style keeps the reader intrigued throughout the entire story and the characters are so easy to relate to that you feel as if you’re really inside their heads. The Willa series is, by far, my favorite tween series and I’d recommend it to everyone, no matter what their age. I think this series may even be a good read for 7th or 8th graders to read in class. I can’t wait to read the third book and the series and hope you decide to too.

In honor of the holiday weekend, Jennifer Banash and I have teamed up to have a contest.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by July 31st. Two winners will be chosen to recieve a copy of The Elite and a mixed cd of songs that inspired Jennifer while writing. To go entries, here’s what you can do:

*Leave a comment on this post – 1 entry

*Post a myspace bulletin and link to here – 1 extra entry

*Post about it on your blog – 2 extra entries

*Do all 3 and get 2 extra entries

Good luck!

  • Megan: Just read LAST CHRISTMAS. I would SOOO reccomend it to people who havent even read the private series. It is soo good.The suspense was kiling me all t
  • Lola: Oh my gosh! i just finished it....i googled the song for i had never herd it before......may have been a mistake because it is in my head for taciturn
  • mais: heeeyyyy.... can anyonePLEASE give me the link or even send me the copy of the eighth book(revelation on my email because i cant find it anywhere for