Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Populazzi by Elise Allen

Populazzi by Elise Allen

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

# of Pages: Hardcover, 400

Publisher: Harcourt

Cara has never been one of those girls: confident, self-possessed, and always ready with the perfect thing to say. A girl at the very top of the popularity tower. One of the Populazzi.

Now, junior year could change everything. Cara’s moving to a new school, and her best friend urges her to seize the moment—with the help of the Ladder. Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms into the perfect girlfriend for guys ever-higher on the tower, she’ll reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi.

The Ladder seems like a lighthearted social experiment, a straight climb up, but it quickly becomes gnarled and twisted. And when everything goes wrong, only the most audacious act Cara can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.

Looking back now, there are so many things that I would change if I could go back and do high school over again. I would not care what the “Populazzi” thought about me and be confident (much like I am now). Cara has that opportunity. She is starting over at a new school and, along with her best friend Claudia’s help, she has a new leash on life and a way to become the top of the ladder…. The Populazzi. The most popular. The group everyone else only wishes they could be a part of. To Cara, the project of climbing the social ladder seems like an easy thing, but not something that she isn’t going to invest much time and effort in. She lacks that confidence. Things quickly change.

I have to say that I thought that this was going to be another one of those cutsie books where the main character is striving to be popular and faces the challenges… blah, blah, blah. How wrong I was! I laughed, was heartbroken at times and fell completely in love with the characters in this novel. Cara and Claudia remind me a lot of my best friend and I (one is the more reserved of the two…. Not me!!) but yet they balance each other out perfectly. Simply stated, I loved Archer. He is my kind of guy and was very well written throughout the novel. While the plot was a typical plot for this story line, it was completely enjoyable and I know that my students will love it as much as I did. Oh… and the tension at the end- DANG!! J Elise Alan is definitely an author to watch out for!

Visit Elise HERE to find out more about her books, writing and lots of other cool stuff!

Now it is time for you to WIN a copy! If you are a US resident, fill out the form below to enter. The contest will end on September 2, 2011!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Been Reading A Lot of Childrens Books...

To get ready for this year with my read alouds and the like, I have been reading a lot of children's picture books. I thought that I would just post some of them here so that you can check them out too! Enjoy...

Butterfly Tree by Sandra Markle

About Hummingbirds: A Guide for Children
by Cathryn Sill

Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetoro-Ng

The Pink House by Kate Salley Palmer

Older Brother, Younger Brother: A Korean Folktale by Nina Jaffee

H is for Hero: A Military Family Alphabet by Devin Scillian

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Hourglass (Hourglass #1)

by Myra McEntire

One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally get my hands on this book. I had been reading so many wonderful reviews, chatting with Myra on twitter about the writing and getting her updates and hearing from my friends who had read it. Disappointment was nowhere near me when I finished…. Unless you want to count the disappointment I had that the next book wasn’t waiting on me to read!

Emerson just wants to be a normal teenager… whatever that is. The only problem is she sees dead people. Not in the Sixth Sense idea though. Her parents were killed in an accident right after she started seeing these strange beings and it all went downhill from there. Her brother has tried everything that he can to help her, but it is only when the mysterious Michael shows up that Emerson starts to feel that maybe she isn’t as crazy as she has thought that she was.

Myra McEntire has created a universe where we can travel back in time or to the future, see rips (those “dead people”) and create matter with our bare hands… if we have the right genes. The creativity behind this amazing debut novel kept me glued to the pages the entire read. I loved Emersons quirks and how she had to figure out who she was while falling in love with Michael. Of course… nothing comes easy!

Make sure (before or after you read it) you visit Myra’s blog HERE and follow her on Twitter for fun facts and updates (@MyraMcEntire). Also, make sure to check out the Ash to Nash tour that Myra McEntire, Victoria Schwab (author of The Near Witch) and Beth Revis (author of Across the Universe) will all be going from Ashville to Nashville. Check it all out HERE. I will be visiting them in Spartanburg, SC next Friday night!

Happy reading everyone!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Winner of Notebook Giveaway

Thanks to Kathleen for a great post and writing challenge! If you missed it, check it out here. Now for the winner...

Sarah H.

Thank you to everyone who entered, commented and took the challenge. I hope that you are all continuing to write and challenge yourself!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley

Crush Control

by Jennifer Jabaley

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Pages: Paperback, 318

Publisher: RazorBill

Willow has spent most of her life as her mother's sidekick in a popular Las Vegas hypnotism show. So when she and her mom move back to their sleepy southern hometown to start over, she thinks she's in for a life of quiet normalcy. Except that her new life turns out to be anything but, when she kinda sorta hypnotizes Quinton, the hottest guy on the football team, to fall madly, deeply, head over heels in love with her. But what started out as an innocent way to make her best friend, Max, jealous soon gets way out of hand, and Willow begins to wonder if the mind - and more importantly, the heart - is something you can really control.

Crush Control was a delightfully funny book with such a good message. Willow moves back to Georgia in hopes of creating a more balanced life. Moving back will put her close to her close to her grandparents but more importantly, closer to her best friend Max. When she and her mom move back she finds her life turned more upside down than it has ever been to date. I love the honesty in Willow’s character. I could completely relate to her being in love with her best friend all the while trying to figure out what to do to get his attention. Her friendships with Georgia and Mia completely balanced her life (even though she didn’t know it at the time) and were so integral to her finding out who she really is.

Love makes you do crazy things. Willow found that out the hard way and had to eventually rely on her friend Georgia to help her out. I laughed so hard at their antics as they tried to find a solution to the problem and the extensive measures they took. My best friend and I have done some crazy things in my time, but I assure you that she and I have never bought a voodoo doll! I couldn’t put this one down because I wanted to see how Willow was going to get out of the mess she was in then! In the end, Willow learned that trying to be something you are not created to be gets you nowhere but deeper in the holes we dig daily!

A little about the author…

Born in New York and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey, Jennifer Jabaley is a graduate of James Madison University and Southern College of Optometry. She began writing in 2006 and tries to manage optometry, writing and motherhood. She lives in Blue Ridge, Georgia with her husband and two children.

Visit Jennifer HERE, follow her on Twitter (@JenniferJabaley) and see her Facebook page HERE.

Happy reading everyone :)

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