For now... Carol is sponsoring A TON of awesome contests in honor of her blogoversary so go check them out!
Here's a particularly great one (in my opinion) - a chance to win Sarah MacLean's The Season at http://bookluver-carol.blogspot.com/2009/04/win-season.html.
Anyway, so sorry again! But no fear - coming up soon I'll have a review of the conclusion of the Make Lemonade trilogy: This Full House as well as a review of Ed Decter's The One (and who knows... I'm considering a contest for the book as well since I feel so bad about being MIA).
In this poignant young adult novel, Ockler takes the typical beach read novel – two girls and a beach and a hunt for guys – and expands upon it, creating a rich story about the trials of friendship and love. While Ockler could gone further with her use of the first person narrative to really expand on Anna’s inner emotions, I still felt that the reader was able to pick up on and relate to Anna’s raw grief, confusion, and frustration. Though Twenty Boy Summer doesn’t have the usual happily-ever-after ending, Ockler’s ending is as uplifting as would be suitable for the story and I was thankful for its grounding in reality as I believe this contributed to the impact of the story. Beyond the text, the cover is absolutely lovely and I was pleased to find how meaningful the pieces of sea glass are. More than anything else, I felt that Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer taught the lesson of appreciating every moment you have – a lesson that will resonate with every reader. 10 out of 10.
Bookluver-Carol's Reviews: Elizabeth Scott contest!
A Veiled Deception is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a while. This novel is a quick read, filled with romance, history, magic, and cute fashion references. I especially appreciated the way Blair gave her characters depth, especially Maddie and Mr. Vancortland, by including meaningful family history plots to support the main mystery. Blair’s new series incorporates magic wonderfully, blending Maddie’s newfound psychic powers into the mystery through ghosts and visions that add an element of supernatural to the story without taking away from A Veiled Deception’s clear storyline. This book is a sure hit for any fan of Blair’s Accidental Witch Trilogy, Laurie’s Psychic Eye Series, or Alt’s Bewitching Mysteries. 8 out of 10.
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson was an incredible story of love, loss, friendship, and family. The three Gold sisters, Brooks, May, and Palm, have suffered through the loss of their father and have each responded in completely different ways. Johnson focuses on May’s side of the story, but with hers you learn a lot about Brooks, the older sister who has become wild, and Palm, the younger sister who has become a very intense pitcher.
Ever since her father’s death, everything in May’s life seems to be falling apart. And to add to it all, with Brooks’ lack of concern, May is stuck watching over Palmer and caring for her most of the time. So she is dragged into learning to drive, especially with the offer of her neighbor Pete. Meanwhile, their father’s old car, the Golden Firebird sits uselessly in the garage, not touched since he passed away. As to May’s driving, let’s just say she’s not exactly great and she’s overcautious while in the driver’s seat. With Pete’s help, she starts to slowly overcome some of this. At the same time, she’s beginning to realize Pete may not still be the immature, rotten little kid she remembers.
I was blown away with the power of this book. It was not just some story about girls after their father died and how they coped. There was just so much more to the story than that and I don’t really know how to put it. Each sister really came to life with their individual personalities and you couldn’t help but fall for Pete. I thought the ending was perfect and it really brought the entire book to a conclusion, tying all “loose ends” up well. As well, it was well written and simply realistic, with tiny details that people observe but normally don’t bother to write about. If Maureen Johnson were to write another story about the Gold sisters, I’d be sure to read it. I recommend The Key to the Golden Firebird to anyone looking for a truly touching and enjoyable read this summer. 9 out of 10.
While I was a huge fan of Laura Preble’s first Queen Geeks novel, I must say that I found it challenging to get into this one. Though equal in length to the first two installments, the story becomes repetitive early on and loses the reader’s attention. As well, the extreme expansion of the prom by Shelby and crew seems unrealistic as compared to the adventures and drama in the previous two books, as if they plan on taking over the universe rather than holding a simple high school dance. This being said, Shelby’s voice is as entertaining as ever, leading the reader to share in the life of a geek, even when it means feeling downright uncomfortable. While the end of Prom Queen Geeks resolves the prom tension, the girl fights, and the boy drama, Preble leaves the Queen Geeks open to yet another installment. Hopefully the next time we encounter Shelby, Becca, and friends, their story will have returned to reality, with each character remaining as quirky as ever. 5 out of 10.
The Bradford series is complete with a wide selection of web content. From character profiles on myspace and twitter to webpages for the school and hangout places, the realm of Bradford is extended impressively in through this assortment of websites (check out http://www.bradfordnovels.com/ for links). These make the characters come to life in a way they simply couldn’t in the book due to its entirely blog-driven nature. GoldenGirl certainly delves into today’s internet obsession.
For a light read, Ostow’s latest is fun and fast-paced. Rather than taking place in “the city” whether it is NYC or LA, GoldenGirl is set in the suburbs of Philadelphia, specifically the upper-crust Main Line. This helped the book stand out in my mind as compared to other novels. Still, probably because of the title, I immediately made a comparison between GoldenGirl and the Gossip Girl series. GoldenGirl is like a second tier Gossip Girl installment combined with Pretty Little Liars with lighter content for a slightly younger audience. 7 out of 10.