Friday, January 29, 2010

Girl Stays in the Picture

Girl Stays in the Picture, by Melissa de la Cruz.

She didn't become the most famous sixteen-year-old in the world by playing wallflower. This might be her first-ever visit to the fabled Cote d'Azur, but Devon had been a star since she was in pull-ups. She knew how to play the fame game.

I love de la Cruz's books - I think I've written about her series "Blue Bloods" on here once or twice - and this one was no exception. What's particularly exciting is that on the front cover it says "A GIRL Novel," and the ending of the book is clearly leading to a sequel; therefore, I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.

"Girl" follows Devon, a pop star who just landed a star acting gig; Summer, an equally famous pop star who is working in the same movie; Livia, the daughter of the director who has just has Gastric Bypass Surgery and now weighs about 1/3 of what she used to; and Casey, Summer's best friend from high school who has agreed to follow her to St. Tropez, where filming is taking place, to be her assistant. Each of the girls has their own personal dramas going on, and Casey is beginning to figure out that Summer is not as nice as she once appeared to be.

This movie was fun to read from beginning to end, and I highly recommend it. Cruz writes "newspaper-style" gossip clippings that often start out the chapters, and it seems that all of America are watching these starlets as they work and play in St. Tropez for the summer.

4 stars out of 5.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

She's So Money

She's So Money, by Cherry Cheva.

Camden studied me. "That involves us giving each other our locker combinations," he pointed out.
"Yeah, I know," I said.
"Are we ready for that much intimacy?" he asked innocently.
I rolled my eyes as I disentangled myself from the seat belt and got out of his car. "We're hormone-addled teenagers. Aren't we supposed to do it even if we're not ready?"
The grin on his face told me he agreed.

Cherry Cheva is from Ann Arbor and was recently a speaker at the Ann Arbor District Library, which is how I heard about her book. She currently writes for Family Guy in L.A., and her book was absolutely HILARIOUS - great wit and a lot of the lines made me laugh out loud.

Maya works in her family's Thai restaurant and when her parents go on a 2-day vacation to DC, she and her little brother are put in charge of the restaurant. They manage to incur a $10,000 health violation, and she decides to not tell her parents about it and pay the bill herself ... by organizing a "cheating ring" in which she does her peers' homework for $100+ per assignment or paper. She gets Camden King, aka "King of the School," involved, and things are going swimmingly ... until they start falling for each other.

This book had lots of twists and turns in it, in addition to being hilariously written, and I enjoyed it until the very last page.

4.5 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Almost Moon

The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold.

When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily. Dementia, as it descends, has a way of revealing the core of the person affected by it. My mother's core was rotten like the brackish water at the bottom of a weeks-old vase of flowers. She had been beautiful when my father met her and still capable of love when I became their late-in-life child, but by the time she gazed up at me that day, none of this mattered.

The Almost Moon is Alice Sebold's third novel, one of which being an autobiography, and after really liking The Lovely Bones, and reading a preview chapter of this in that book, I decided to read it. It's definitely not as good as Bones but it is hard to compare the two, as they are drastically different. This novel takes place over 24 hours, whereas The Lovely Bones spans a decade or more. The style of prose, beautifully written by Sebold, is the same - incredibly detailed, with nothing left out, and fairly straightforward - and the plot is simple: Helen has just killed her elderly mother and has no idea of what to do next. The first sentence of the novel definitely grabs the reader, as it grabbed me, and we wonder - why did she do this? What were her reasons? And, of course, what is she going to do now?

2.5 stars out of 5.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Match Me If You Can

Match Me If You Can, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Seeing the light shining through the front window filled her with dismay. Maybe he'd left it on as a courtesy. Please don't be waiting up. She absolutely could not face him tonight. Even without watching a dirty movie, she could barely keep her hands off him, but after what she'd just seen ....

Contrary to the paragraph above, this novel is actually a very sweet book. Heath Champion, sports agent extraordinaire, is looking for a wife, so he hires Powers Matches. Annabelle, proprietress of Perfect for You, needs Heath to enroll as her client to boost her (mostly nonexistent, at the beginning) client list. You can probably figure out what happens next, and the ending, but this was still a nice book to read; romantic without being too "foofy" like the last romance I read.

Thanks to Justina for recommending this novel to me to read.

3.5 stars out of 5.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Castaways

The Castaways, by Elin Hilderbrand.

Delilah and the kids waved from the bow of the boat. Jeffrey waved back. Delilah always said that people were predictable, that they could be counted on to act exactly like themselves. She wanted someone standing on the dock waiting for her.

And here he was.

This novel was about three couples - Phoebe & Addison, Jeffrey & Delilah, and Andrea & Ed - whose lives drastically change when their friends Tess & Greg die in a tragic boating accident. Everyone has connections to the couple, some that are obvious - Andrea was Tess's first cousin - and some that begin to reveal themselves after the couple's death. The four couples had called themselves "The Castaways" and were inseparable; they had taken numerous group trips together and were best friends.

I actually didn't like this novel at first but by the end of it, I had changed my mind. The novel stays in 3rd person the entire time but explores each of the 6 people's background and connections to Greg and Tess - each person gets their own "chapter," so to speak. At the beginning this was rather confusing since the book had only just begun, but by the end of it, it made sense.

4 stars out of 5.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Van Alen Legacy

First off - Happy New Year!

The Van Alen Legacy, by Melissa De La Cruz.

The exercise was over. She knew who she was, where she was, and what had happened to her. She was Bliss Llewellyn, she was in the Hamptons, and she was carrying the soul of Lucifer inside her body.

That was her story.

The next day she would have to remember it all over again.

I'm a bit biased towards this series, as it's the fourth book in the series and so far all of the books (including this one) have been fabulous. The series is about vampires, called "Blue Bloods," but it portrays them very differently than "Twilight" or other movies/TV shows that are in existence. The books are very fast-paced and at the end of each novel, I always cannot wait to read the next installment in the series, at which De La Cruz is currently "hard at work."

If you like this book, too, De La Cruz has written a few other series' and some individual books that also make for great reading. Her books fall into the "YA" (Young Adult) category but, in my opinion, can be enjoyed by all.

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