Harmony Book Reviews

Archive for April 2009

 Just One WishTitle: Just One Wish

Author:Janette Rallison

Rating: B+

Good If… You want a cute love story with a focus on family.

Summary (Taken from Amazon):

Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it’s all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.

But Annika’s plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly fi nds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

Janette Rallison’s proven talent for laugh-out-loud humor, teen romance, and deep-hearted storytelling shines in a novel that will have readers laughing and crying at the same time.

My Thoughts:You know how sometimes you think out something so well that you’re pretty sure you know exactly how everyone is going to react and then it doesn’t happen that way? Well, that’s exactly the position Annika is in except for her, it happens on a much bigger level. She thought she knew what wishes her brother would make and she knew exactly how to make them come true – but then he changes his mind and makes an impossible wish. To give her brother hope, Annika has to make the wish come true, and you know, maybe she’ll fall in love along the way.

I’m not a big fan of celebrity characters because they’re usually unrealistically nice or total jerks. Fortunately, Rallison knows exactly how to make a TV star seem realistic but also like someone you’d want to hang around.

She also knows how to write about sibling love without getting overly sappy. Annika and Jeremy have a relationship that, despite the circumstances, is surprisingly sweet and I’d love to have a similar relationship with my brother.

Once I started this, I really couldn’t put it down. The plot isn’t extremely complex but the emotions really came thrown. Some parts had me laughing out loud (which got me some pretty weird looks) and others had me really sad. The ending wasn’t my favorite but it was realistic and if it had went any other way, it would have been too perfect.

I definitely recommend this one.


The Beef Princess of Practical County

I received this one early on in the week and being a country girl, I’m really excited to read it.

Here's How I See It--Here's How It Is

This one came in the mail yesterday. I wasn’t expecting it but I had heard about it before. I was just reading little bits and pieces of it and it definitely looks like a fun read. Hopefully I’ll be able to review it soon.

That’s all this week. What did you get?

I just found out about what has got to be the most awesome contest. It’s hosted by Jennifer Banash (author of The Elite series) and you can win an ARC of Simply Irresistible, a $25 Amazon giftcard, a signed ARC of The Elite, and the latest edition in the Luxe series. I know I can’t be the only one excited about this! Read this post to find out how to enter!

 Models Don't Eat Chocolate CookiesTitle: Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies

Author: Erin Dionne

Rating: B+

Good If… You want to read an excellent MG book.

Summary (taken from Amazon):

When Celeste’s meddling aunt enters her in the Miss Husky Peach Pageant for “larger sized girls,” the eighth-grader quails at the thought of the teasing that’s sure to follow, though the idea of modeling has its appeal. Reasoning that if she loses enough weight, she’ll be ineligible for the contest, Celeste finds the motivation to skip snacks and even to exercise. Along the way, she begins to express her individuality through the unlikely vehicle of a beauty contest. Successes, flops, humiliations, and recoveries are all part of the pageant process, and even girls who don’t see themselves as potential models will enjoy Celeste’s account of her experiences. The wry first-person narrative also provides convincing views of middle-school friendships, family dynamics, and incremental personal growth. The ending may be a bit too rosy for absolute realism, but readers rooting for Celeste won’t complain. A light, well-paced first novel.

My Thoughts:Not only is MDECC one of the best weight issues book I’ve read, it’s the best tween book I’ve read.

Of all the characters in books I’ve read recently, Celeste has to be the one I relate to most. This probably has something to do with the fact we’re the same age but I just felt so connected to her while I was reading this. The way her aunt acted was just…unbelievable and I don’t think I could have handled it quite as nicely as she did. People should just not act like that.

Weight was a big part of this and I’m extremely picky about how I like weight-related things to be handled but Dionne pulled it off very nicely and realistically. The motivation behind it and everything she goes through to get rid of the weight is something I can see other people doing. The idea of the Husky Peach competition was original (is there anything similar in real life?) and I enjoyed reading about Celeste’s time at the competition, especially with her stylist.

In my opinion, the ending could have been done just a tiny bit better but other than that, I loved this and I’m looking forward to Dionne’s future novels. (Especially the recently announced The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet.)

 Peace, Love, and Baby DucksAlong for the Ride

These two actually came in the mail last week but because of all the Easter festivities, I wasn’t able to make a post. I’ve read them both already and loved them. I won’t be posting the reviews until closer to their release dates but let’s just say that I’m recommending them both already.

How to Buy a Love of Reading

I haven’t read this one yet but it looks really good. It came with a little packet that had more info on the author and the book and I’m already hooked. Look for a review soon since I’ll definitely be getting to this one shortly.


I’ve recently become introduced to the wonderful world of zines and have started to write some of my own. But I’ve decided that it would be a little more fun to do a zine with a bunch of authors, sort of like a short story compilation (I’m thinking of this as a very small Chicken Soup type thing) and the idea of writing about crushes just came to me. So…

If you enjoy writing and think you can write (or have already written) a short story or poem about having a crush (whether it’s thinking about them all the time, wondering if they like you, seeing them in the hall, etcetc) and want to be part of the zine, please email me with the following info:

Name/Nickname + Age

Why you feel your story should be included

A little about what your story/poem will focus on

A sample of your writing.

I have no idea what response I will recieve on this but hopefully I’ll be able to get this all put together by June. If you have any questions, email me at – harmonybookreviews[at]yahoo[dot] com.

 Leslie's JournalTitle: Leslie’s Journal

Author: Allan Stratton

Rating: A

Good If… You’re a mature teen looking for a heartbreaking and eye-opening story.

Summary: (Taken from publisher’s site)

Leslie can’t seem to avoid trouble, whether it’s at school or at home. Just as life seems at its lowest, Jason McCready, the exceedingly cool new guy at school, enters her life.
Now Leslie is the envy of all the girls. But Jason’s appearance is deceiving –he is determined to control every aspect of Leslie’s life and he begins terrorizing her in unimaginable ways.
When a substitute teacher reads the private English-class journal in which Leslie reveals Jason’s abuse, Leslie is suddenly forced into hard choices and terrifying action to take back her life.

My Thoughts: Leslie’s Journal is one of those books that you have to put down and walk away from. It’s a vile story but one that needs to be told and be heard. Leslie’s Journal tells the story of an abusive relationship and tells it well, with emotion that will ring true in every teen’s ears, and give them no choice but to pass it along to their friends.

Leslie is a character that everyone can relate to in one way or another, whether it’s her vivid personality or the fact she falls for the wrong guy.  All of the adults in the book seemed wrapped up in their own problems and simply dismissed Leslie’s calls for help as childish drama, which is something that often seems to happen in real life, unfortunately, and I definitely think that all teens will be able to connect with that.  

I did not enjoy Leslie’s Journal – only a sick-minded person would enjoy a book about abuse – but it is a book that will stick with me forever.

I finally ended the Wish You Were Here contest and chose three winners randomly. They were: Nora, Katie, and Teresa W.

I’ve emailed the winners so if you’re one of them, please get back to me ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

  The GuardianTitle: The Guardian

Author: Joyce Sweeney

Rating: B

Good If… You’re looking for an action-packed book with some Catholic twists.

Summary: (Taken from Amazon)

Hunter has never had anyone to look out for him. His mother gave him away when he was young, he’s never known his father, and his foster mother leaves a lot to be desired in the mothering department. So when a mysterious, benevolent force suddenly starts coming to his aid, Hunter doesn’t know what to believe. Could he really have a guardian angel? Hunter so badly wants someone to care that he’s willing to take a leap of faith, and more. But when he finally learns the truth about his angel, he’ll have to decide whether it’s the best thing that ever happened to him or the worst.

This masterful pairing of suspenseful, fast-paced storytelling with genuine compassion and heart is Joyce Sweeney at her best.
My Thoughts: I was hooked from the first page. Hunter’s home life is a realistic one and I loved how each of his sister’s had a distinct personality and relationship with him. His foster mother, no matter how horrible she acts, is also a realistic character, though I hope I never meet anyone like her.

Then things began getting iffy, for me. I believe in angels but I couldn’t wrap my head around Hunter truly believing a spirit was sending him emails and helping him out in the ways mentioned in the book. But even at that point, I was still hooked. I wanted to know what/who was doing all of this stuff and how he was going to fix all the problems with his foster mom.

The last few chapters, though…they really got me. I just can’t picture some of the things happening (I won’t say what so it’s not spoiled for anyone) and to me, it just seemed really far-fetched.

So this one gets a B. I loved the first half and still adore the characterization but the ending didn’t hit me strong enough to give this one an A.

(P.S. – Am I the only one who adores this cover?!?)

Due to recently becoming a history geek, I’m looking for suggestions on books (fiction and non-fiction) that have to do with slavery, southern plantations, Gettysburg, Williamsburg, Jamestown, or anything that took places during late Revolutionary War or the Civil War. Anybody have any suggestions?

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  • 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