Monday, June 30, 2008

You Remind Me (Of Me)

Have you ever opened up a book, and, less than halfway through gone: Ohmigod. That's exactly what I would do! I get that feeling a lot and apparently so does Page Numbered.

Check out my list.

Ten Characters Who Are Just Like Me
(In no particular order)

1. Brett from The It Girl
2. Birdie from Peaches
3. Bliss from Blue Bloods
4. Spencer from Pretty Little Liars
5. Lex from Hacking Harvard
6. Martha from Prep
7. Molly from Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn
8. Harper from Bass Ackwards and Belly Up
9. Macy from The Truth About Forever
10. Taylor from Private

What about you?

(Remember to link back to Page Numbered if you post a list like this one on your blog!)

And to all the Canadians out there, happy Canada Day!

Peaches by: Jodi Lynn Anderson

In Anderson's stunning start to the celebrated and bestselling Peaches series, we meet three teenage girls: Birdie Darlington, Leeda Cawley-Smith and Murphy McGowen. Through a series of coincidences, all three girls wind up at the Darlington Peach Orchard one magical summer.

Twists that most readers can easily predict keep this book a conventional, not controversial summer read that will keep teenage girls going. It's also a great pick for the coldest part of winter when the lush descriptions of juicy peaches, swimming and summer love can melt the ice outside and the coldest heart.

What I Loved About This Book
How relate-able the main characters were. Birdie is probably the most like me in the sense that she is not adventurous or flirty or daring or anything like that, but she is also the most hopeful, people-person of the group.
Leeda is the outsider at the orchard, if only because she's such an insider everywhere else. I can't really relate to having a huge house, but I think her relationship with her mom (a total perfectionist and more like Leeda than she'd like to admit) is very close to reality.
As for Murphy. I love how she always speaks her mind and she is definitely reminiscent of those schoolgirls who steal all the attention without bothering to notice. Of the three, though, she's probably the most unlike any teenager I've ever met (or, um, you know, been)

What I Didn't Love About This Book:
How none of the characters beyond Birdie, Murphy and Leeda were explored. Especially with characters like Murphy's mom, Jodee, who fits neatly into the mold of "small town slut," there was much room for character growth and explanation that never quite occurred. I was always waiting, tearing through page after page, for that one thing that would make me understand how another character (such as Horatio Balmeade, country club owner, or Leeda's mom) acted. This ah-ha! moment never came.

All in all, Anderson's Peaches is a good choice for fans of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series, (as the blurb on the cover from that series' creator should tell you) and is good for anyone tired of authors who seem to know nothing of modern day teenagerdom.

Total: Three stars.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shopping Spree (For Books, Naturally)

Time for another installment of "Shopping Spree!"

1. (A pre-signed copy of!) Wake by: Lisa McCann
2. Peaches by: Jodi Lynn Anderson
3. Peeps by: Scott Westerfeld*
4. Dead Connection by: Charlie Price
5. Gossip Girl, The Carlyles by: Cecily von Ziegesar('s ghost writer)

*I adored his Uglies trilogy. Didn't read Extras, though. Was it any good?

Did you buy any good books recently? Do you want to?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Books Into Movies

As of late, it seems the baseball cap-wearing writers of La La Land are losing their creativity and falling back into simply adapting novels for the silver screen. I'm definately not a big fan of this, no matter how well the actors are, how amazing the script is and how generally wonderful the film is.

Would you like to know why?

Reading is all about imagination. The words the author uses, the descriptions given, can translate into so many different things (and I don't simply mean English to French, etc.) and have so many meanings. I understand that the rights to make your novel into a movie is a big deal for authors, but then again, once you've published something, that "thing" is not Just Yours anymore. You've shared it with the world. It's ours now.

For every person who wants their favourite book to be made into a film starring this week's teen icon, there's a hundred who don't.

Some (In)Famous Examples:
(Click to enlargen; I know the text is kind of hard to read)

What do you think? Am I out of my mind? Is there a book you wish was a movie? One you wish wasn't?

The Wedding Planner's Daughter by: Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Part champagne-fizzy fairy tale and part account of the trials & tribulations of middle school, Paratore gives tween readers a new girl to look up to (step aside Miley Cyrus and your now-faded copy of Vanity Fair). Namely, Willafred Havisham.

With the catchy title of a Jennifer Aniston rom-com and a cast of quirky (if occasionally stilted) characters, The Wedding Planner's Daughter is perfect for the nine-to-twelve set. I'd be stretching it if I said thirteen, because Willa's antics would certainly bore the Gossip Girl set to tears.

The story is this: Every year on her birthday, Willa has wished for a father. Not "her" father. "A" father. Willa's career-oriented, cyncical mother, Stella, (who just-so happens to double as a wedding planner and strict inforcer of The Rules) has been single since the tragically dramatic death of Willa's father.

Faced with yet another new town (this time the rich folk's playground: Cape Cod), Willa is determined to find a suitable husband for Stella and the perfect boyfriend-and-best-friend combo for herself.

Rating: Three. Despite the lovable, relatable character and the abudance of literary refrences no twelve-year-old could get, Paratore's heroine Willa only earns her story a three. This short novel made me want more (I love the 'after' of Happily Ever Afters) but the plot of The Wedding Planner's Daughter's sequel, The Cupid Chronicles, seems much more contrived and predictable than it's surprisingly likeable first novel.

Here's a message to all the first-time authors out there. Sometime's it's just best to drop the story after number one.

And one more thing: it's okay to leave a few ends loose. Even twelve-year-olds understand this.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

How Does One Review a Memoir?

Almost seconds after finishing Cheryl Diamond's new memoir, aptly titled Model: A Memoir (which I briefly mentioned in my last post), I found myself slumped on my polka-dotted, faded bed wondering how, on God's green Earth, was I supposed to review - which is in essence, judging - someone else's life?

Maybe if I was a travel-weary sixtysomething who had truly experienced life for themselves, I could provide a review for this. But I'm not. I'll try my best, but, to be frank, it is impossible to review someone's life. Whew. Here goes...

Cheryl Diamond finds herself fourteen, beautiful and alone in New York City. She spends her days at Platinum Models, where (thank God!) the nicest people in the biz seem to work. Things are looking up for her. Buh-bye days of being a nobody, travelling from place to place but still not knowing where "home" is. Hello to the wonderful (and cutthroat) world of NYC modelling.

And then 9/11 happens.

Life has thrown Cheryl a curveball but the beautiful teenager keeps her witty, realistic and humourous view on life and manages to tackle the modelling world again. This time with a new agency, Prima.

Total: Three stars.

First off, a loverly grammatical error right smack dab on the first page almost made me stop reading. It wasn't terrible. I'm a total geek in the sense that my toes curl when I see grammatical mistakes. With the Gossip Girl, The Clique and It Girl novels, a turn a cheek. All the aforementioned series come from respected, bestelling authors. Who cares if they capitalize something that shouldn't be? And yet...on the first page??? Of a memoir??? Of a first-time writer? Oy vey.

Next up: Besides Cheryl herself, there are no constant characters in this book. Although she confronts this head-on about halfway through the book, I still wished for the cliche best friend type.

Lastly, I lovedlovedloved Cheryl's point of view. She is completely funny and even though the pictures printed halfway through the book are pointless, the way she describes the modelling biz's quirky characters and the bitchy, smoking-addicting models had me belly-laughing. Cheryl doesn't take any BS and is the most honest character (or rather, person) I've read about in a YA book for a long, long while.

Would YOU consider publishing a memoir of your life? I've never been the journal-keeping girl (mainly because my life - up until late - has not been very exciting) and I think I would squirm endlessly if I knew someone was reading my private thoughts.

Questions After Reading:

-Has anyone read any other good, modelling-related YA? Besides Violet on the Runway that is.

-Is Cheryl a well-known model? Besides her personal site, I haven't been able to find anything of her modelling heyday. Weird, I know.

-Cheryl never mentions a love interest in this book. Uncommon for YA literature (be it fiction or non-fiction.)

Shopping Spree (For Books, Naturally)

On my last trip to the local bookstore (after getting my iPod stolen and promtly given back), I came up trumps. This is what I got:

1. Model: A Memoir by: Cheryl Diamond
2. Tempted (An It Girl Novel) by: Cecily von Ziegesar
3. Criminal Minds: Jump Cut by: Max Allan Collins
4. A Nicer Way to Die by: Sam Mills
5. Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by: Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler
6. Angelmonster by: Veronica Bennett

Have you bought anything recently?? And/or read any of the above books?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How Nerd-rrific Are You??

You Are 52% Nerdy

You may be a bit surprised with this score, but you're more of a closet nerd than an actual nerd.

Stop denying your inner nerd! You're truly dorkier than you think.

Apparently, I'm less nerdy than I thought (and people tell me) but more nerdy than Claudia Gray (author of Evernight, which I've yet to read.

-Would you rather have a review for Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods or April Henry's Shock Point??


Blue Bloods by: Melissa de la Cruz

Private school sucks.

And for the elite inner circle of Blue Bloods at Duchesne School, they mean that literally.

Schuyler Van Alen has always been on the fringe. On the fringe of wealth — she lives in a once-great penthouse with her ice queen of a grandmother, Cordelia, loyal bloodhound Beauty and maid, Hattie. On the fringe of popularity — Schuyler's blue-black hair, porcelain skin, pert nose and blue eyes attract attention, but not as Chic magazine thinks it should.

And then there are the undeniably fabulous Force twins - Mimi and Jack, who rule the school side-by-side with iron, Gucci-clad fists.

It isn't until Schuyler's blue marks start appearing that she realizes she's just like Mimi and Jack. A Blue Blood. A vampire. A blood-sucker. A monster.

Total: Three and 3/4.

Vampire romances are getting seriously overrated. Seriously. I picked this up long before I laid eyes on Twilight and, if it's even possible, I'm more hooked on de la Cruz's naughty tale of sexy city vamps than of Meyer's quirky interpretation of small-town "vegetarians." Melissa de la Cruz paints an interesting tale — when paired with her unique talent for describing clothes, places and characters — of a young girl searching for herself. Also, the fact that she definitely knows her way around New York City only adds to the fun that is Blue Bloods.

Then, Why have you given it only a three and 3/4, Gabbi? Because, as I look back at this blog post, I realize that I have only talked about Schuyler pretty much and neglected the other main characters that make up this book. I love Mimi's world, too, with all its seduction and deceit. I just wish that, besides Schuyler (whose name I recently learned — stupid me — is pronounced sky-ler), they were more three dimensional.

As I took in their tales of love and fitting in, I found myself rooting for Schuyler and booing at Mimi and Bliss (Llewyn; probably spelled that last name wrong; forgive me, Melissa!) and Jack and pretty much everyone else.

I can't help wondering... If this book had been written in Sky's first-person rather than a whole load of people's third-person, would I be more attached to the characters??

Monday, June 9, 2008

Do You Donate?

Recently, and by that I mean yesterday, I set aside a whole load of books. And by "load" I mean 10 or 11. Which is crazy for me. And by that I mean I'm a complete book pack rat.

= Hey! It'!?!

I know it's hard to let go of books, especially shiny hardcovers that I know I spent over twenty bucks on. And yet, I feel amazing about my self once I give some away. Also, in clearing some space from my bookshelf, I've made room for more new books! And who doesn't love new books?

So, I hope everyone who takes the time to read this post (and I know that's not very many people, to be honest!) will take the time to scan their book stacks for a book or two (or three or four, etc.) to give to someone who needs them more than us.


-All Five Stars reviewer,

Friday, June 6, 2008

Read My Lips, A Book Trailer

Here's a trailer that's being passed around the book blogs. Haven't read it yet, though it sounds pretty interesting/original. Has anyone out there read it? Any recommendations for me?

Monday, June 2, 2008

What Happened to Cass McBride? by: Gail Giles

Cass McBride is worse than Massie or Blair could ever be. Living in the constant shadow of her highly-succesful and yet socially-inept father, Cass is the picture of high-school perfection. She'll do - and does - anything to be as popular as humanly possible. Until she's kidnapped and buried alive, of course.

Brought on by Kyle, her kidnapper's brother's suicide, Cass has to talk her way out of a situation that - unlike most of her controlled life - has a slim-to-none possibility of ending up how she'd like.

Told in the changing POVS (third-person of the police officers, Cass', Kyle's), this book is un-put-downable. Cass kept me up all night. Amazing.

Total: Four stars; Yet again, I really disliked Cass.

If you liked this, check out:
Sean Olin's Killing Britney.