Harmony Book Reviews

Archive for June 2009

When Scarlett Martin turns fifteen she is put in charge of the Empire Suite, one of the rooms in her family’s hotel. Enter Mrs. Amberson, an aging C-list starlet who decides to employ Scarlett. Soon, she is taking dictation, running around New York City , and getting caught up in Mrs. Amberson’s crazy adventures. In the midst of it all, Scarlett falls in love–or so she thinks–and it takes Mrs. Amberson to help her see the light. Now in paperback from top-selling author Maureen Johnson!

FIVE readers will win a copy of Suite Scarlett.

This is a US only contest (sorry!)

To enter:

Leave a comment on the post (+1)

Post about this on your site and leave the link (+1)

Deadline: July 15th

With Shooting Stars Mag’s YA Book Carnival going on and everyone holding their regular contests too, there’s plenty of contests going on. Here’s the links of ones I’ve found interesting:

Shooting Stars Mag is giving away 3 copies of David Inside Out. I loved this book and read it over and over so I definitely recommend entering! She also giving away a copy of Angel’s Choice.

Stop, Drop, and Read! is also giving away 2 copies of David Inside Out.

The Frenetic Reader is giving away a copy of Lovestruck Summer.

Debbie’s World of Books is giving away a copy of Vampire Academy.

Suzanne Young is giving away an ARC of her novel The Naughty List.

The Tainted Poet is giving away a copy of Eyes Like Stars.

Jennifer Hubbard is giving away Four YA Books, including an ARC of her book, The Secret Year.

In Bed With Books is giving away a  copy of Jonas Brothers: Inside Their World.

Many sites are giving away copies of Suite Scarlett, including YA Fabulous, Tower of Books, Green Bean Teen Queen, Books Love UsFrenetic Reader, and The Dream Reader. 

Just Your Typical Book Blog is giving away a copy of Keeping the Moon. I loved this one and you should definitely check it out!

Steph Su reads is giving away the complete Mediator series. That’s just a crazy awesome contest. Definitely check it out! 

To see a full list of the YA Book Carnival contests, go here.

Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf is giving away a copy of Dork Diaries.

The Compulsive Reader is giving away two copies of Psych Major Syndrome.

Read This Book is giving away Secrets of Truth and Beauty.

Bookluver Carol is giving away some Dork Diaries goodies.

Sharon Loves Books and Cats is giving away a copy of Rampant.

Em’s Bookshelf is having a huge Harry Potter giveaway.

Alea is giving away a copy of TMI.

Royal Reads is having a huge summer giveaway.

I also have 3 contests: June Contest, The Railway Children, and Along for the Ride.

That’s all I have for today. Good luck!

The Secret Life of Prince Charming

Title: The Secret Life of Prince Charming

Author: Deb Caletti

Rating: 9.5/10

Good If… You’re looking for a compelling story in general or if you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen and are looking for something equally as good to read.

Summary: (Taken from Amazon)

Maybe it was wrong, or maybe impossible, but I wanted the truth to be one thing. One solid thing.
Quinn is surrounded by women who have had their hearts broken. Between her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, Quinn hears nothing but cautionary tales. She tries to be an optimist — after all, she’s the dependable one, the girl who never makes foolish choices. But when she is abruptly and unceremoniously dumped, Quinn starts to think maybe there really are no good men.

It doesn’t help that she’s gingerly handling a renewed relationship with her formerly absent father. He’s a little bit of a lot of things: charming, selfish, eccentric, lazy…but he’s her dad, and Quinn’s just happy to have him around again. Until she realizes how horribly he’s treated the many women in his life, how he’s stolen more than just their hearts. Determined to, for once, take action in her life, Quinn joins forces with the half sister she’s never met and the little sister she’ll do anything to protect. Together, they set out to right her father’s wrongs…and in doing so, begin to uncover what they’re really looking for: the truth.

Once again, Deb Caletti has created a motley crew of lovably flawed characters who bond over the shared experiences of fear, love, pain, and joy — in other words, real life.
My Thoughts: It took me a while to get into this, partially because I was balancing a billion other things at the same time, but once a few chapters passed, I could not put this down. The Secret Life of Prince Charming is like no book I’ve read before. It’s fun and witty but also heartbreakingly real at the same time.

The writing and POV use are the two things that stood out to me most in the novel. Caletti, like Dessen, includes little things all the time to make the characters seem so much more real. They each have their distinct personalities, even all of her father’s ex-girlfriends/wives, and it’s impossible to get any of the characters confused. Also, instead of the story just being told from Quinn’s POV, there’s little snapshots from each of the women in Quinn’s life telling about their past loves, heartbreaks, and what they couldn’t say. Hearing their stories just added so much more to the novel and helped the reader relate to the adults even more.

The plot was also paced just right. It took a while for any big action to start but the character and world building was there and in the end, it made the book so much better. Once the action did start, it never stopped. Quinn did so many things that I only wish I had the guts to do and the people who helped her along the way were pretty awesome themselves.

Everything about this novel deserves to be praised. I look forward to any future Caletti novels and plan on purchasing her older titles as well.

Recommended.

Seventeen-year-old Colt has been sneaking out at night to meet Julia, a girl from an upper-class neighborhood unlike his own. They’ve never told anyone else about their relationship: not their family or friends, and especially not Julia’s boyfriend. When Julia dies suddenly, Colt tries to cope with her death while pretending that he never even knew her. He discovers a journal Julia left behind. But Colt is not prepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship, nor to pay the price for the secrets he’s kept.

Tell me this does sound insanely awesome. The cover alone drew me right in. The summary is so compelling! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come out until 2010.

Lately, probably due to my Summer Contest, I’ve been getting a huge increase of comments/hits on the blog. This is really exciting to me because it means more exposure to the authors and books I’m reviewing. However, I still feel the books I reviewed before need some love so I’m going to use this post to point out some of my favorites you may not have seen before (especially if you’re new to this blog). Feel free to comment on them as well. (Each comment = one entry in June contest!)

The King’s Rose by Alisa M. Libby

You Are So Undead To Me by Stacey Jay

My Post on How I Run This Blog

Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

Leslie’s Journal by Allan Stratton

Willow by Julia Hoban (my current fave)

Faketastic by Alexa Young

A Very Cool interview with Jessica Burkhart (she’s still one of my faves!)

I also love the answers Jennifer Banash gave in this interview.

Peace, Locomotion still sticks with me today.

Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Suzanne Supplee’s interview is also really cool.

These are just a few of my favorites from the past few months that I’d love for you all to check out but feel free to browse and see what you find! All of the authors I’ve reviewed books for deserve the exposure!

Today (well, tomorrow but it will be today when you read this) I will be leaving for a little less than a week to visit the D.C. area. Chances are I won’t have internet access so emails will not be replied to until I return. Also, comments are moderated and I won’t be able to accept them so don’t panic if it doesn’t post right away. I do have some posts scheduled to go up while I’m away so look for them.

If you were wondering which books won in the previous post, here are the ones I’m taking:

The Body Finder

Sprout

The Lost Summer

After

Never Cry Werewolf

I will also be taking How To Say Goodbye in Robot because I just got it in the mail today and reallyreallyreally want to read it!

Thanks to everyone who left there opinion!

My Life in Pink & Green

Title: My Life in Pink and Green

Author: Lisa Greenwald

Rating: 9/10

Good If… You’re looking for a fun MG read.

Summary: (Taken from Amazon)

Twelve-year-old Lucy Desberg is a natural problem solver. After the local homecoming queen shows up at her family’s struggling drugstore with a beauty disaster that Lucy helps to fix, Lucy has a long line of makeover customers for every school dance and bat mitzvah. But all the makeup tips in the world won’t help save the pharmacy. If only she could find a way to make the pharmacy the center of town again—a place where people want to spend time, like in the old days. Lucy dreams up a solution that could resuscitate the family business and help the environment, too. But will Lucy’s family stop fighting long enough to listen to a seventh-grader?
This book is a funny and sweet debut featuring an unforgettable narrator who knows what she wants, whether it’s great makeup, a killer business plan, or a better world.

My Thoughts: My Life in Pink and Green is such a cute and fun read. I think I read it all in one sitting within the course of an hour or two.

The plot seemed realistic but not in a way that I could relate to it very much. Around here, you go into a drugstore, pick up your medicine, and walk out. There’s no comforting feeling to it, no soda machines, no buying anything that’s not medicine. I never even realized that places like the one Lucy’s family owned existed but I could definitely picture the events in this book happening.

So I wasn’t able to relate to that too much but I was able to relate to Lucy. A lot. She dealt with a lot of problems in a very realistic way. Anyone who has ever had to deal with fighting family members (and who hasn’t?) will be able to relate to her. I also understand what it’s like to be a seventh (or eighth or whatever) grader and not have anyone take you seriously. It’s a pain but Lucy handled it well and was still able to find ways to do what she set her mind to.

I also loved the little tips at the beginning of each chapter about makeup or business or whatever. Very cool and fun!

Overall, I definitely recommend this one to all readers but particularly to tweens and seventh/eighth graders.

On Tuesday, I leave for a week or so to go down to visit my aunt. The car ride is long and I’m sure there will be other opportunities to read as well so I need to take some books. The thing is, I have no clue which ones to take. Here’s a list of the ones I have to review. Comment with the five you think I should take with me and I’ll give you an extra entry in my Along for the Ride contest (see the post below).

The Red Queen’s Daughter

Cold Hands, Warm Hearts,

Thirteenth Child

Here’s How I See It, Here’s How It Is

Sprout

Tales of the Madman Underground

Things Are Gonna Get Ugly

Totally Fabulous

Love, Lies, and Texas Dips

After

Give Up the Ghost

Goodbye Season

My Invented Life

The Miles Between

Never Cry Werewolf

Bad Apple

The Body Finder

The Debutante

The Lost Summer

Hold Still

If I Grow Up

Shine, Coconut Moon

Standing for Socks

Anything but Typical

The Secret Keeper

Let me know which ones you think I should take and read!

Lauren is holding a YA Book Carnival all this week and I couldn’t help but participate. I’m going to give away one of my copies of Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. 

Along for the Ride

To enter:

Leave a comment on this post.

Become a follower (+1)

Already a follower (+2)

Post about this (+1)

Deadline: June 27th.

Note: You MUST leave a general comment first. Leave each additional entry in a separate comment.

Debutante by Kathryn Williams: Book Cover

This came last week, along with Williams The Lost Summer. I can’t find a cover online fr that one, though I know it’s out there somewhere. I can’t wait to read either of these!

Red Queen's Daughter by Jacqueline Kolosov: Book Cover

This came today, along with A Sweet Disorder. I’m really excited to read both of these.

Columbine by Dave Cullen: Book Cover

I checked this one out of my library, along with Chains and some other books. I’m really excited to read these but I’ll probably have to take them back before my trip and then check them out again when I get home.

The library sale was this weekend  but they didn’t have any newish teen books. I did pick up a bunch of books by Lurlene McDaniels, S.E. Hinton, and Nicholas Sparks, plus some others.


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